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THIS BOOK IS PRESENT 

IN OUR LIBRARY 

THROUGH THE 

GENEROUS 

CONTRIBUTIONS OF 

ST. MICHAEL'S ALUMNI 

TO THE VARSITY 

FUND 





Story of The Great War 

History of the European 
War from Official Sources 



COMPLETE HISTORICAL RECORDS OF EVENTS TO DATE. 
ILLUSTRATED WITH DRAWINGS, MAPS, and PHOTOGRAPHS 

T'refaced by 

WHAT THE WAR MEANS TO AMERICA 
MAJOR GENERAL LEONARD WOOD, U. S. A. 

NAVAL LESSONS OF THE WAR 
REAR ADMIRAL AUSTIN M. KNIGHT, U. S. N. 

THE WORLD'S WAR 

FREDERICK PALMER 

THEATRES OF THE WAR'S CAMPAIGNS 

FRANK H. SIMONDS 

THE WAR CORRESPONDENT 
ARTHUR RUHL 




FRANCIS J. REYNOLDS 

Former Reference Librarian of Congress 



edited by 

ALLEN L. CHURCHILL 

Associate Editor, The New International Encyclopedia 



FRANCIS TREVELYAN MILLER 
Editor in Chief, Photographic History of the Civil War 




O L L I E R 

NEW YORK 






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The 

STORY OF THE 
GREAT WAR 



BATTLE OF JUTLAND BANK • RUS- 
SIAN OFFENSIVE • KUT-EL-AMARA 
EAST AFRICA • VERDUN • THE 
GREAT SOMME DRIVE • UNITED 
STATES AND BELLIGERENTS 
SUMMARY OF TWO YEARS' WAR 





VOLUME 



COLLIER y SON • NEW YORK 



Copyright 1916 
Br P. F. Collier & Sow 




CONTENTS 



PART I.— AUSTRIAN PROPAGANDA 

CHAPTER PA«a 

I. Austrian Ambassador Implicated in Strike Plots — His 

Recall — Ramifications of German Conspiracies . . 9 
II. The Plot to Destroy Ships — Pacific Coast Conspiracies 
— Hamburg-American Case — Scope of New York In- 
vestigations 15 

III. Von Rintelen's Activities — Congressman Involved — 

Germany's Repudiations — Dismissal of Captains Boy- 
Ed and Von Papen 22 

IV. Great Britain's Defense of Blockade — American 

Methods in Civil War Cited 28 

V. British Blockade Denounced as Illegal and Ineffective 

BY THE United States — The American Position . . 35 
VI. Great Britain Unyielding — Effect of the Blockade — 

The Chicago Meat Packers' Case * 44 

VII. Seizure of Suspected Ships — Trading "With the Enemy 
— The Appam — The Anglo-French Loan — Ford Peace 
Expedition , . 49 

■^III. American Pacificism — Preparedness — Munition Safe- 
guard .... 54 

PART II.— OPERATIONS ON THE SEA 

IX. Naval Engagements in Many Waters 59 

X. Minor Engagements and Losses 6€ 

XI. The Battle of Jutland Bank — Beginning 70 

XII. Some Secondary Features of the Battle 89 

XIII. Losses and Tactics 94 

XIV. Death op Lord Kitchener — Other Events of the Second 

Year 108 

PART III.— CAMPAIGN ON THE EASTERN FRONT 

XV. The Eastern Front at the Approach op Spring, 1916 . 116 

XVI. The Russian March — Offensive from Riga to Pinsk . 122 

XVII. Resumption op Austro-Russian Operations 133 

1 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 

XVIII. 

XIX. 

XX. 

XXI. 

XXII. 

XXIII. 

XXIV. 

XXV. 

XXVI. 

XXVII. 

XXVIII. 



XXIX. 
XXX. 



XXXI. 

XXXII. 

XXXIII. 

XXXIV. 

XXXV. 

XXXVI. 

XXXVII. 



PART III.— CAMPAIGN ON THE EASTERN 
FRONT — Continued 

PAGB 

Thaw and Spring Floods 141 

Artillery Duels 149 

The Great Russian Offensive 154 

The Russian Reconquest of the Bukowina .... 162 

In Conquered East Galicia 173 

The German Counteroffensive Before Kovel . . . 178 

Progress of the Bukowinian Conquest 183 

Temporary Lull in the Russian Offensive .... 188 

Advance Against Lemberg and Kovel 192 

The Germans* ^tand on the Stokhod 198 

Increased Strength of the Russian Drive .... 207 

PART IV.— THE BALKANS 

Holding Fast in Saloniki 212 

Military and Political Events in Greece .... 216 

PART v.— AUSTRO-ITALIAN CAMPAIGN 

Resumption of Operations on the Italian Front . . 229 

The Spring of 1916 on the Austro-Italian Front , . 235 

The Austrian May Drive in the Trentino .... 244 

The Rise and Failure of the Austro-Hungarian Drive 255 

The Italian Counteroffensive in the Trentino . . 265 

Continuation of the Italian Counteroffensive . . 276 
Minor Operations on the Austro-Italian Front in 

Trentino Offensive 283 



PART VI.— RUSSO-TURKISH CAMPAIGN 
XXXVIII. Russian Successes After Erzerum .... 



292 



PART VII.— CAMPAIGN IN MESOPOTAMIA 
AND PERSIA 

XXXIX. Renewed Attempt to Relieve Kut-el-Amara .... 307 

XL. The Surrender of Kut-el-Amara 318 

XLI. Spring and Summer Trench War on the Tigris . . . 326 

XLII. Russian Advance Toward Bagdad 330 

XLIII. Turkish Offensive and Russian Counteroffensive in 

Armenia and Persia 335 



CONTENTS 3 

PART VIII.— OPERATIONS ON THE WESTERN 
FRONT 

CHAPTER PAGH 

XLIV. Renewal of the Battle of Verdun 340 

XLV. The Struggle for Vaux Fort and Village — Battle of 

MoRT Homme 348 

XLVI. Battle of Hill 304 and Douaumont — The Struggle at 

Fleury 361 

XL VII. Spring Operations in Other Sectors . . . . . .371 

XLVIII. Battle of the Somme — Allied Preparations — Position 

OF THE Opposing Forces . . .... . . . 377 

XLIX. The British Attack 382 

L. The French Attacks North and South of the Somme 387 

LI. The British Attack (Continued) . . . . . . . 392 

LII. The Second Phase of the Battle of the Somme ... 401 



PART IX.— THE WAR IN THE AIR 

LIII. The Value of Zeppelins in Long-Distance Reconnoiter- 

iNG — Naval Auxiliaries 412 

LIV. Aeroplane Improvements — Giant Machines — Technical 

Developments 418 

LV. Losses and Casualties in Aerial Warfare — Discrep- ' 
ANCiEs in Official Reports — "Driven Down" and 
"Destroyed" 424 

LVI. Aerial Combats and Raids 427 

PART X.— THE UNITED STATES AND THE 
BELLIGERENTS 

LVII. War Cloud in Congress 433 

LVIII. The President Upheld in Armed-Merchantmen Issue — 

Final Crisis with Germany ........ 439 

LIX. The American Ultimatum — Germany Yields .... 449 

Two Years of the War. By Frank H. Simonds 

The German Problem 461 

The Belgian Phase 463 

The French Offensive 466 

The Battle of the Marne 469 

The End of the First Western Campaign 472 

The Russian Phase 476 



4 CONTENTS 

Two Years of the War. By Frank H. Simonds — Continued page 

Tannenberg and Lemberg 476 

Warsaw and Lodz 479 

The Galician Campaign 480 

The Battle of the Dunajec 481 

Russia Survives 484 

The Balkan Campaign 484 

In the West 487 

Italy 488 

Verdun .488 

The February Attack 490 

Later Phases 491 

Gettysburg 493 

The Austrian Offensive 494 

Germany Loses the Offensive 495 

The Russian Attack 496 

The Battle of the Somme 499 

GoRiziA 499 

As THE Third Year Begins 501 

The Second Anniversary of the War. Statements from the 
British, French, and German Ambassadors to the United 

States 503 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Jutland . Frontispiece 

OPPOSITE PAOa 

Queen Mary, British Battle Cruiser 78 

Earl Kitchener 110 

Austrian 30.5-Centimeter Gun 158 

Austrian Intrenchment High on a Mountain 238 

German Crown Prince Giving Crosses for Valor 350 

French Aviation Camp Near Verdun 366 

U-C-5, German Mine-Laying Submarine 446 

Motor-Mounted French 75's 494 



LIST OF MAPS 

PAGB 

Expansion op the War — Dates on Which Declarations op War 

Were Made (Colored Map) Front Insert 

Battle of Jutland Bank, The 

Plate I — Distribution of Forces 74 

Plate II — Running Fight to the Southward 77 

Plate III — Running Fight to the Northward . . . , 79 
Plate IV — British Grand Fleet Approaching from North- 
west 81 

Plate V — British Grand Fleet Coming into Action . . 83 
Plate VI — Jellicoe and Beatty Acting Together to "Cap" 

German Fleet 85 

Plate VII — Jellicoe and Beatty Pass Around the German 

Flank, "Capping" It 86 

Plate VIII — British Forces Heading Off to Southward to 

Avoid Attack During Darkness 88 

Plate IX — Movement of Forces 103 

Plate X — Movements of Jellicoe's Forces on May 31 . . 105 

Plate XI — What Von Scheer Should Have Done .... 106 

Eastern Battle Front, August, 1916 119 

Russian Offensive from Pinsk to Dubno, The 157 

Russian Offensive in Galicia, The 175 

Italian Front, The 241 

Austrian Offensive, May, 1916, Detail of .263 

GoRiziA 272 

Kut-el-Amara 322 

Russians in Persia, The 333 

Russians in Armenia, The 838 

Western Battle Front, August, 1916 343 

Four Zone Maps (Colored) Opposite 344 

Verdun, First Attack on 346 

Verdun, Northeast District in Detail 352 

Verdun, Northwest District in Detail 356 

Mort Homme Sector in Detail 364 

Verdun to St. Mihiel ••••••.. 366 

7 



8 LIST OF MAPS 

PAGl 

Verdun Gain up to August, 1916 369 

Sector Where Grand Offensive was Started 379 

English Gains, The 394 

French Gains, The 406 

Two Years of the War 

August 18, 1914, When the Belgian Retreat to Antwerp 

Began 465 

August 23, 1914, After the Allies Had Lost All the First 

Battles 467 

September 6, 1914, The Battle of the Marne 471 

September 20, 1914, The Deadlock ......... 473 

November 15, 1914, The End of the Western Campaign . 475 

October 24, 1914, The Battle of the Vistula 478 

October 1, 1915, At the End op the Russian Retreat . . 483 

The Conquest op Serbia, December, 1915 485 

The Russian Spring Offensive, 1916 497 

Austro-Italian Campaigns, May to September, 1916 . . 500 



PART I— AUSTRIAN PROPAGANDA 



CHAPTER I 

AUSTRIAN AMBASSADOR IMPLICATED IN 
STRIKE PLOTS — HIS RECALL — RAMIFICA- 
TIONS OF GERMAN CONSPIRACIES 

PUBLIC absorption in German propaganda was abating when 
attention became directed to it again from another quarter. 
An American war correspondent, James F. J. Archibald, a pas- 
senger on the liner Rotterdam from New York, who was sus- 
pected by the British authorities of being a bearer of dispatches 
from the German and Austrian Ambassadors at Washington, to 
their respective Governments, was detained and searched on the 
steamer's arrival at Falmouth on August 30, 1915. A number 
of confidential documents found among his belongings were 
seized and confiscated, the British officials justifying their action 
as coming within their rights under English municipal law. The 
character of the papers confirmed the British suspicions that 
Archibald was misusing his American passport by acting as a 
secret courier for countries at war with which the United States 
was at peace. 

The seized papers were later presented to the British Parliar 
ment and published. In a bulky dossier, comprising thirty-four 
documents found in Archibald's possession, was a letter from 
the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador at Washington, Dr. Dumba, 
to Baron Burian, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister. In 
this letter Dr. Dumba took "this rare and safe opportunity*' of 
"warmly recommending" to the Austrian Foreign Office certain 
proposals made by the editor of a Hungarian-American organ, 
the "Szabadsag," for effecting strikes in plants of the Bethlehem 

a 



10 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Steel Company and others in the Middle West engaged in making 
munitions for the Allies. 

The United States Government took a serious view of the let- 
ter recommending the plan for instigating strikes in American 
factories. Dr. Dumba, thrown on his defense, explained to the 
State Department that the incriminating proposals recommended 
in the document did not originate from him personally, but 
were the fruit of orders received from Vienna. This explana- 
tion was not easily acceptable. The phraseology of Dr. Dumba 
far from conveyed the impression that he was submitting a re- 
port on an irregular proposal inspired by instructions of the 
Austrian Government. Such a defense, however, if accepted, 
only made the matter more serious. Instead of the American 
Government having to take cognizance of an offensive act by an 
ambassador, the Government which employed him would rather 
have to be called to account. Another explanation by Dr. Dumba 
justified his letter to Vienna on the ground that the strike pro- 
posal urged merely represented a plan for warning all Austrians 
and Hungarians, employed in the munition factories, of the 
penalties they would have to pay if they ever returned to their 
home country, after aiding in producing weapons and missiles of 
destruction to be used against the Teutonic forces. This defense 
also lacked convincing force, as the letter indicated that the aim 
was so to cripple the munition factories that their output would 
be curtailed or stopped altogether — an object that could only be 
achieved by a general strike of all workers. 

The Administration did not take long to make up its mind that 
the time for disciplining foreign diplomats who exceeded the 
duties of their office had come. On September 8, 1915, Austria- 
Hungary was notified that Dr. Konstantin Theodor Dumba was 
no longer acceptable as that country's envoy in Washington. The 
American note dispatched to Ambassador Penfield at Vienna for 
transmission to the Austrian Foreign Minister was blunt and 
direct. After informing Baron Burian that Dr. Dumba had 
admitted improper conduct in proposing to his Government plans 
to instigate strikes in American manufacturing plants, the 
United States thus demanded his recall : 



AUSTRIAN AMBASSADOR'S RECALL 11 

*'By reason of the admitted purpose and intent of Dr. Dumba 
to conspire to cripple legitimate industries of the people of the 
United States and to interrupt their legitimate trade, and by 
reason of the flagrant violation of diplomatic propriety in em- 
ploying an American citizen, protected by an American passport, 
as a secret bearer of official dispatches through the lines of the 
enemy of Austria-Hungary, the President directs us to inform 
your excellency that Dr. Dumba is no longer acceptable to the 
Government of the United States as the Ambassador of His Im- 
perial Majesty at Washington." 

Dr. Dumba was not recalled by his Government until Septem- 
ber 22, 1915, fourteen days after the American demand. Mean- 
while Dr. Dumba had cabled to Vienna, requesting that he be 
ordered to return on leave of absence "to report." His recall was 
ostensibly in response to his personal request, but the Adminis- 
tration objected to this resort to a device intended to cloak the 
fact that he was now persona non grata whose return was really 
involuntary, and would not recognize a recall "on leave of ab- 
sence." His Government had no choice but to recall him officially 
in view of the imminent contingency that otherwise he would 
be ousted, and in that case would be denied safe conduct from 
capture by an allied cruiser in his passage across the ocean. 
His request for passports and safe conduct was, in fact, dis- 
regarded by the Administration, which informed him that the 
matter was one to be dealt directly with his Government, pend- 
ing whose official intimation of recall nothing to facilitate his 
departure could be done. On the Austrian Government being 
notified that Dr. Dumba's departure "on leave of absence" 
would not be satisfactory, he was formally recalled on Septem- 
ber 28, 1915. 

The seized Archibald dossier included a letter from the Ger- 
man military attache. Captain Franz von Papen, to his wife, con- 
taining reference to Dr. Albert's correspondence, which left no 
doubt that the letters were genuine : 

"Unfortunately, they stole a fat portfolio from our good Albert 
in the elevated (a New York street railroad). The English 
secret service of course. Unfortunately, there were some very 



12 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

important things from my report among them such as buying up 
liquid chlorine and about the Bridgeport Projectile Company, as 
well as documents regarding the buying up of phenol and the 
acquisition of Wright's aeroplane patent. But things like that 
must occur. I send you Albert's reply for you to see how we 
protect ourselves. We composed the document to-day." 

The "document" evidently was Dr. Albert's explanation dis- 
counting the significance and importance of the letters. This 
explanation was published on August 20, 1915. 

The foregoing disclosures of documents covered a wide range 
of organized German plans for embarrassing the Allies' dealings 
with American interests; but they related rather more to ac- 
complished operations and such activities as were revealed to be 
under way — e. g., the acquisition of munitions combined with 
propaganda for an embargo — ^were not deemed to be violative of 
American law. But this stage of intent to clog the Allies' facili- 
ties for obtaining sinews of war, in the face of law, speedily grew 
to one of achievement more or less effective according to the suc- 
cess with which the law interposed to spoil the plans. 

The autumn and winter of 1915 were marked by the exposure 
of a number of German plots which revealed that groups of con- 
spirators were in league in various parts of the country, bent on 
wrecking munition plants, sinking ships loaded with Allies' sup- 
plies, and fomenting strikes. Isolated successes had attended 
their efforts, but collectively their depredations presented a seri- 
ous situation. The exposed plots produced clues to secret Ger- 
man sources from which a number of mysterious explosions at 
munition plants and on ships had apparently been directed. Pro- 
jected labor disturbances at munition plants were traced to a 
similar origin. The result was that the docket of the Federal 
Department of Justice became laden with a motley collection of 
indictments which implicated fifty or more individuals concerned 
in some dozen conspiracies, in which four corporations were also 
involved. 

These cases only represented a portion of the criminal infrac- 
tions of neutrality laws, which had arisen since the outbreak of 
the war. In January, 1916/ ^ inquiry in Congress directed the 



AUSTRIAN AMBASSADOR'S RECALL 13 

Attorney General to name all persons "arrested in connection 
with criminal plots affecting the neutrality of our Government." 
Attorney General Gregory furnished a list of seventy-one indicted 
persons, and the four corporations mentioned. A list of merely 
arrested persons would not have been informative, as it would 
have conveyed an incomplete and misleading impression. Such a 
list, Mr. Gregory told Congress, would not include persons in- 
dicted but never arrested, having become fugitives from justice ; 
nor persons indicted but never arrested, having surrendered ; but 
would include persons arrested and not proceeded against. Thus 
there were many who had eluded the net of justice by flight and 
some through insufficient evidence. The seventy-one persons 
were concerned in violations of American neutrality in connec- 
tion with the European war. 

The list covered several cases already recorded in this history, 
namely : 

A group of Englishmen, and another of Montenegrins, in- 
volved in so-called enlistment "plots" for obtaining recruits on 
American soil for the armies of their respective countries. 

The case of Werner Horn, indicted for attempting to destroy 
by an explosive the St. Croix railroad bridge between Maine and 
New Brunswick. 

A group of nine men, mainly Germans, concerned in procuring 
bogus passports to enable them to take passage to Europe to act 
as spies. Eight were convicted, the ninth man, named Von 
Wedell, a fugitive passport offender, was supposed to have been 
caught in England and shot. 

The Hamburg-American case, in which Dr. Karl Buenz, for- 
mer German Consul General in New York, and other officials or 
employees of that steamship company, were convicted (subject to 
an appeal) of defrauding the Government in submitting false 
clearance papers as to the destinations of ships sent from New 
York to furnish supplies to German war vessels in the Atlantic. 

A group of four men, a woman, and a rubber agency, indicted 
on a similar charge, their operations being on the Pacific coast, 
where they facilitated the delivery of supplies to German cruis- 
ers when in the Pacific in the early stages of the war. 



14 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

There remain the cases which, in the concatenation of events, 
might logically go on record as direct sequels to the public di- 
vulging of the Albert and Archibald secret papers. These in- 
cluded : 

A conspiracy to destroy munition-carrying ships at sea and to 
murder the passengers and crews. Indictments in these terms 
were brought against a group of six men — Robert Fay, Dr. Her- 
bert 0. Kienzie, Walter L. Scholz, Paul Daeche, Max Breitung, 
and Engelbert Bronkhorst. 

A conspiracy to destroy the Welland Canal and to use Ameri- 
can soil as a base for unlawful operations against Canada. 
Three men, Paul Koenig, a Hamburg-American line official, R. 
E. Leyendecker, and E. J. Justice, were involved in this case. 

A conspiracy to destroy shipping on the Pacific Coast. A Ger- 
man baron, Von Brincken, said to be one of the kaiser's army 
officers ; an employee of the German consulate at San Francisco, 
C. C. Crowley; and a woman, Mrs. Margaret W. Cornell, were 
the offenders. 

A conspiracy to prevent the manufacture and shipment of 
munitions to the allied powers. A German organization, the 
National Labor Peace Council, was indicted on this charge, as 
well as a wealthy German, Franz von Rintelen, described as an 
intimate friend of the German Crown Prince, and several Amer- 
icans known in public life. 

In most of these cases the name of Captain Karl Boy-Ed, the 
German naval attache, or Captain Franz von Papen, the Grerman 
military attache, figured persistently. The testimony of in- 
formers confirmed the suspicion that a wide web of secret in- 
trigue radiated from sources related to the German embassy and 
enfolded all the conspiracies, showing that few, if any, of the 
plots, contemplated or accomplished, were due solely to the in- 
dividual zeal of German sympathizers. 



A— War St S 



THE PLOT TO DESTROY SHIPS 15 



CHAPTER II 

THE PLOT TO DESTROY SHIPS — PACIFIC COAST 

CONSPIRACIES — HAMBURG-AMERICAN 

CASE — SCOPE OF NEW YORK 

INVESTIGATIONS 

rpHE plot of Fay and his confederates to place bombs on ships 
J- carrying war supplies to Europe was discovered when a 
couple of New York detectives caught Fay and an accomplice, 
Scholz, experimenting with explosives in a wood near Wee- 
hawken, N. J., on October 24, 1915. Their arrests were the out- 
come of a police search for two Germans who secretly sought to 
purchase picric acid, a component of high explosives which had 
become scarce since the war began. Certain purchases made 
were traced to Fay. On the surface Fay's offense seemed merely 
one of harboring and using explosives without a license; but 
police investigations of ship explosions had proceeded on the 
theory that the purchases of picric acid were associated with 
them. 

Fay confirmed this surmise. He described himself as a lieu- 
tenant in the German army, who, with the sanction of the Ger- 
man secret information service, had come to the United States 
after sharing in the Battle of the Marne, to perfect certain mine 
devices for attachment to munition ships in order to cripple them. 
In a Hoboken storage warehouse was found a quantity of picric 
acid he had deposited there, with a number of steel mine tanks, 
each fitted with an attachment for hooking to the rudder of a 
vessel, and clockwork and wire to fire the explosive in the tanks. 
In rooms occupied by Fay and Scholz were dynamite and trinitro- 
toluol (known as T-N-T), many caps of fulminate of mercury, 
and Government survey maps of the eastern coast line and New 
York Harbor. The conspirators' equipment included a fast motor 
boat that could dart up and down the rivers and along the water 
front where ships were moored, a high-powered automobile, and 
four suit cases containing a number of disguises. The purpose of 

B— War St. S 



16 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

the enterprise was to stop shipments of arms and ammunitions 
to the Allies. The disabling of ships, said Fay, was the sole aim, 
without destruction of life. To this end he had been experiment- 
ing for several months on a waterproof mine and a detonating 
device that would operate by the swinging of a rudder, to which 
the mine would be attached, controlled by a clock timed to cause 
the explosion on the high seas. The German secret service, both 
Fay and Scholz said, had provided them with funds to pursue 
their object. Fay's admission to the police contained these state- 
ments : 

"I saw Captain Boy-Ed and Captain von Papen on my arrival 
in this country. Captain Boy-Ed told me that I was doing a 
dangerous thing. He said that political complications would re- 
sult and he most assuredly could not approve of my plans. When 
I came to this country, however, I had letters of introduction to 
both those gentlemen. Both men warned me not to do anything of 
the kind I had in mind. Captain von Papen strictly forbade me 
to attach any of the mines to any of the ships leaving the harbors 
of the United States. But anyone who wishes to, can read be- 
tween the lines. 

"The plan on which I worked was to place a mine on the rudder 
post so that when it exploded it would destroy the rudder and 
leave the ship helpless. There was no danger of any person being 
killed. But by this explosion I would render the ship useless and 
make the shipment of munitions so difficult that the owners of 
ships would be intimidated and cause insurance rates to go so 
high that the shipment of ammunition would be seriously 
affected, if not stopped." 

The Federal officials questioned the statement that Fay's de- 
sign was merely to cripple munition ships. Captain Harold C. 
Woodward of the Corps of Engineers, a Government speciahst 
on explosives, held that if the amount of explosive, either trinitro- 
toluol, or an explosive made from chlorate of potash and benzol, 
required by the mine caskets found in Fay's possession, was fired 
against a ship's rudder, it would tear open tht stern and destroy 
the entire ship, if not its passengers and crew, so devastating 
would be the explosive force. A mine of the size Fay used, three 



THE PLOT TO DESTROY SHIPS 17 

feet long and ten inches by ten inches, he said, would contain 
over two cubic feet : 

"If the mine was filled with trinitrotoluol the weight of the 
high explosive would be about 180 pounds. If it was filled with a 
mixture of chlorate of potash and benzol the weight would be 
probably 110 pounds. Either charge if exploded on the rudder 
post would blow a hole in the ship. 

"The amount of high explosive put into a torpedo or a sub- 
marine mine is only about 200 pounds. It must^ot be forgotten 
that water is practically noncompressible, and that even if the 
explosion did not take place against the ship the effect would be 
practically the same. Oftentimes a ship is sunk by the explosion 
of a torpedo or a mine several feet from the hull. 

"Furthermore, if the ship loaded with dynamite or high ex- 
plosive, and the detonating wave of the first explosion reaches 
that cargo, the cargo also would explode. In high explosives the 
detonating wave in the percussion cap explodes the charge in 
much the same manner in which a chord struck on a piano will 
make a picture wire on the wall vibrate if both the wire and the 
piano string are tuned alike. 

"Accordingly, if a ship carrying tons of high explosive is at- 
tacked from the outside by a mine containing 100 pounds of 
similar explosive, the whole cargo would go up and nothing would 
remain of either ship or cargo." 

Therefore the charge made against Fay and Scholz, and four 
other men later arrested, Daeche, Kienzie, Bronkhorst, and Brei- 
tung, namely, conspiracy to "destroy a ship," meant that and all 
the consequences to the lives of those on board. Breitung was a 
nephew of Edward N. Breitung, the purchaser of the ship Dacia 
from German ownership, which was seized by the French on the 
suspicion that its transfer to American registry was not bona fide. 

The plot was viewed as the most serious yet bared. Fay and 
his confederates were credited with having spent some $30,000 
on their experiments and preparations, and rumor credited them 
with having larger sums of money at their command. 

The press generally doubted if they could have conducted their 
operations without such financial support being extended them in 



18 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

the United States. A design therefore was seen in Fay's state^ 
ment that he was financed from Germany to screen the source ol 
this aid by transferring the higher responsibiUty in toto to official 
persons in Germany who were beyond the reach of American 
justice. These and other insinuations directed at the German 
Embassy produced a statement from that quarter repudiating 
all knowledge of the Fay conspiracy, and explaining that Hi 
attaches were frequently approached by "fanatics" who wantec 
to sink ships or destroy buildings in which munitions were made. 

A similar conspiracy, but embracing the destruction of rail- 
road bridges as well as munition ships and factories, was later 
revealed on the Pacific Coast. Evidence on which indictments 
were made against the men Crowley, Von Brincken, and a 
woman confederate aforementioned, named Captain von Papen, 
the German military attache, as the director of the plot. The 
accused were also said to have had the cooperation of the German 
Consul General at San Francisco. The indictments charged 
them, inter alia, with using the mails to incite arson, murder, 
and assassination. Among the evidence the Government un- 
earthed was a letter referring to "P," which, the Federal officials 
said, meant Captain von Papen. The letter, which related to a 
price to be paid for the destruction of a powder plant at Pinole, 
Cal., explained how the price named had been referred to others 
"higher up." It read: 

"Dear Sir : Your last letter with clipping to-day, and note what 
you have to say. I have taken it up with them and 'B' [which 
the Federal officials said stood for Franz Bopp, German Consul 
at San Francisco] is awaiting decision of 'P' [said to stand for 
Captain von Papen in New York] , so cannot advise you yet, and 
will do so as soon as I get word from you. You might size up the 
situation in the meantime." 

The indictments charged that the defendants planned to de- 
stroy munition plants at Aetna and Gary, Ind., at Ishpeming, 
Mich., and at other places. The Government's chief witness, 
named Van Koolbergen, told of being employed by Baron von 
Brincken, of the German Consulate at San Francisco, to make 
and use clockwork bombs to destroy the commerce of neutral 



THE PLOT TO DESTROY SHIPS 19 

nations. For each bomb he received $100 and a bonus for each 
ship damaged or destroyed. For destroying a railway trestle in 
Canada over which supply trains for the Allies passed, he said he 
received first $250, and $300 further from a representative of the 
German Government, the second payment being made upon his 
producing newspaper clippings recording the bridge's destruc- 
tion. It appeared that Van Koolbergen divulged the plot to the 
Canadian Government. 

The three defendants and Van Koolbergen were later named in 
another indictment found by a San Francisco Federal Grand 
Jury, involving in all sixty persons, including the German Con- 
sul General in that city, Franz Bopp, the Vice Consul, Baron 
Eckhardt, H. von Schack, Maurice Hall, Consul for Turkey, and 
a number of men identified with shipping and commercial 
interests. 

The case was the first in which the United States Government 
had asked for indictments against the official representatives of 
any of the belligerents. The warrants charged a conspiracy to 
violate the Sherman Anti-Trust Law by attempting to damage 
plants manufacturing munitions for the Allies, thus interfering 
with legitimate commerce, and with setting on foot military 
expeditions against a friendly nation in connection with plans to 
destroy Canadian railway tunnels. 

The vice consul. Von Schack, was also indicted with twenty-six 
of the defendants on charges of conspiring to defraud the United 
States by sending supplies to German warships in the earlier 
stages of the war, the supplies having been sent from New York 
to the German Consulate in San Francisco. The charges related 
to the outfitting of five vessels. One of the latter, the Sacra" 
mento, now interned in a Chilean port, cleared from San Fran- 
cisco, and when out to sea, the Government ascertained, was 
taken in command by the wireless operator, who was really a 
German naval reserve officer. Off the western coast of South 
America the Sacramento was supposed to have got into wireless 
communication with German cruisers then operating in the 
Pacific. There she joined the squadron under a show of com- 
pulsion, as though held up and captured. In this guise the war 



20 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

vessels seemingly convoyed the Sacramento to an island in the 
Pacific, where her cargo of food, coal, and munitions were trans- 
ferred to her supposed captors. The Sacramento then proceeded 
to a Chilean port where her commanding officer reported that he 
had been captured by German warships and deprived of his 
cargo. The Chilean authorities doubted the story and ordered 
the vessel to be interned. 

Far more extensive were unlawful operations in this direction 
conducted by officials of the Hamburg- American line, as revealed 
at their trial in New York City in November, 1915. The indict- 
ments charged fraud against the United States by false clear- 
ances and manifests for vessels chartered to provision, from 
American ports, German cruisers engaged in commerce destroy- 
ing. The prosecution proceeded on the belief that the Hamburg- 
American activities were merely part of a general plan devised 
by German and Austrian diplomatic and consular officers to use 
American ports, directly and indirectly, as war bases for sup- 
plies. The testimony in the case involved Captain Boy-Ed, the 
German naval attache, who was named as having directed the 
distribution of a fund of at least $750,000 for purposes de- 
scribed as "riding roughshod over the laws of the United States." 
The defense freely admitted chartering ships to supply German 
cruisers at sea, and in fact named a list of twelve vessels, so 
outfitted, showing the amount spent for coal, provisions, and 
charter expenses to have been over $1,400,000 ; but of this out- 
lay only $20,000 worth of supplies reached the German vessels. 
The connection of Captain Boy-Ed with the case suggested the 
defense that the implicated officials consulted with him as the 
only representative in the United States of the German navy, 
and were really acting on direct orders from the German Gov- 
ernment, and not under the direction of the naval attache. Mili- 
tary necessity was also a feasible ground for pleading justifica- 
tion in concealing the fact that the ships cleared to deliver their 
cargoes to German war vessels instead of to the ports named in 
their papers. These ports were professed to be their ultimate 
destinations if the vessels failed to meet the German cruisers. 
Had any other course been pursued, the primary destinations 



THE PLOT TO DESTROY SHIPS 21 

would have become publicly known and British and other hostile 
warships patrolling the seas would have been on their guard. 
The defendants were convicted, but the case remained open on 
appeal. 

About the same time the criminal features of the Teutonic 
propaganda engaged the lengthy attention of a Federal Grand 
Jury sitting in New York City. A mass of evidence had been ac- 
cumulated by Government agents in New York, Washington, and 
other cities. Part of this testimony related to the Dumba and 
Von Papen letters found in the Archibald dossier. Another part 
concerned certain revelations a former Austrian consul at San 
Francisco, Dr. Joseph Goricar, made to the Department of Jus- 
tice. This informant charged that the German and Austrian 
Governments had spent between $30,000,000 and $40,000,000 in 
developing an elaborate spy system in the United States with the 
aim of destroying munition plants, obtaining plans of American 
fortifications, Government secrets, and passports for Germans 
desiring to return to Germany. These operations, he said, were 
conducted with the knowledge of Count von Bemstorff, the Ger- 
man Ambassador. Captains Boy-Ed and Von Papen were also 
named as actively associated with the conspiracy, as well as Dr. 
von Nuber, the Austrian Consul General in New York, who, he 
said, directed the espionage system and kept card indices of spies 
in his office. 

The investigation involved, therefore, diplomatic agents, who 
were exempt from prosecution; a number of consuls and other 
men in the employ of the Teutonic governments while presum- 
ably connected with trustworthy firms; and notable German- 
Americans, some holding public office. 

Contributions to the fund for furthering the conspiracy, in 
addition to the substantial sums believed to be supplied by the 
German and Austrian Governments, were said to have come 
freely from many Germans, citizens and otherwise, resident in the 
United States. The project, put succinctly, was "to buy up or 
blow up the munition plants." The buying up, as previously 
shown, having proved to be impracticable, an alternative plan 
presented itself to "tie up" the factories by strikes. This was 



22 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Dr. Dumba's miscarried scheme, which aimed at bribing labor 
leaders to induce workmen, in return for substantial strike pay, 
to quit work in the factories. Allied to this design was the move- 
ment to forbid citizens of Germany and Austria-Hungary from 
working in plants supplying munitions to their enemies. Such 
employment, they were told, was treasonable. The men were of- 
fered high wages at other occupations if they would abandon 
their munition work. Teutonic charity bazaars held throughout 
the country and agencies formed to help Teutons out of employ- 
ment were regarded merely as means to influence men to leave 
the munition plants and thus hamper the export of war supplies. 
Funds were traced to show how money traveled through various 
channels from the fountainhead to men working on behalf of 
the Teutonic cause. Various firms received sums of money, to be 
paid to men ostensibly in the employ of the concerns, but who in 
reality were German agents working under cover. 

Evidence collected revealed these various facts of the Teutonic 
conspiracy. But the unfolding of such details before the Grand 
Jury was incidental to the search for the men who originated the 
scheme, acted as almoners or treasurers, or supervised, as execu- 
tives, the horde of German and Austrian agents intriguing on 
the lower slopes under their instructions. 



CHAPTER III 



VON RINTELEN'S ACTIVITIES — CONGRESSMAN 

INVOLVED — GERMANY'S REPUDIATIONS — 

DISMISSAL OF CAPTAINS BOY-ED 

AND VON PAPEN 

TN this quest the mysterious movements and connections of 
-*• one German agent broadly streaked the entire investigation. 
This person was Von Rintelen, supposed to be Dr. Dumba'a 
closest lieutenant ere that envoy's presence on American soil was 
dispensed with by President Wilson. Von Rintelen's activities 



VON RINTELEN'S ACTIVITIES 23 

belonged to the earlier period of the war, before the extensive 
ramifications of the criminal phases of the German propaganda 
were known. At present he was an enforced absentee from the 
scenes of his exploits, being either immured by the British in the 
Tower of London, or in a German concentration camp as a spy. 
This inglorious interruption to the role he appeared to play while 
in the United States as a peripatetic Midas, setting plots in train 
by means of an overflowing purse, was due to an attempt to return 
to Germany on the liner Noordam in July, 1915. The British 
intercepted him at Falmouth, and promptly made him a prisoner 
of war after examining his papers. 

Whatever was Von Rintelen's real mission in the United States 
in the winter of 1914-15, he was credited with being a personal 
emissary and friend of the kaiser, bearing letters of credit esti- 
mated to vary between $50,000,000 and $100,000,000. The figure 
probably was exaggerated in view of the acknowledged inability 
of the German interests in the United States to command any- 
thing like the lesser sum named to acquire all they wanted — con- 
trol of the munition plants. His initial efforts appeared to have 
been directed to a wide advertising campaign to sway American 
sentiment against the export of arms shipments. His energies, 
like those of others, having been fruitless in this field, he was 
said to have directed his attention to placing large orders under 
cover for munitions with the object of depleting the source of 
such supplies for the Allies, and aimed to control some of the 
plants by purchasing their stocks. The investigation in these 
channels thus contributed to confirm the New York "World's" 
charges against German officialdom, based on its expose of the 
Albert documents. Mexican troubles, according to persistent 
rumor, inspired Von Rintelen to use his ample funds to draw 
the United States into conflict with its southern neighbor as a 
means of diverting munition supplies from the Allies for Amer' 
ican use. He and other German agents were suspected of being 
in league with General Huerta with a view to promoting a new 
revolution in Mexico. 

The New York Grand Jury's investigations of Von Rintelen's 
activities became directed to his endeavors to "buy strikes." The 



24 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

outcome was the indictment of officials of a German organization 
known under the misleading name of the National Labor Peace 
Council. The persons accused were Von Rintelen himself, though 
a prisoner in England ; Frank Buchanan, a member of Congress ; 
H. Robert Fowler, a former representative; Jacob C. Taylor, 
president of the organization ; David Lamar, who previously had 
gained notoriety for impersonating a congressman in order to 
obtain money and known as the "Wolf of Wall Street," and 
two others, named Martin and Schulties, active in the Labor 
Peace Council and connected with a body called the Antitrust 
League. They were charged with having, in an attempt to effect 
an embargo (which would be in the interest of Germany) on 
the shipment of war supplies, conspired to restrain foreign trade 
by instigating strikes, intimidating employees, bribing and 
distributing money among officers of labor organizations. Von 
Rintelen was said to have supplied funds to Lamar wherewith 
the Labor Peace Council was enabled to pursue these objects. 
One sum named was $300,000, received by Lamar from Von 
Rintelen for the organization of this body; of that sum Lamar 
was said to have paid $170,000 to men connected with the 
council. 

The Labor Peace Council was organized in the summer of 
1915, and met first in Washington, when resolutions were passed 
embracing proposals for international peace, but were viewed as 
really disguising a propaganda on behalf of German interests. 
The Government sought to show that the organization was 
financed by German agents and that its crusade was part and 
parcel of pro-German movements whose ramifications throughout 
the country had caused national concern. 

Von Rintelen's manifold activities as chronicled acquired a 
tinge of romance and not a little of fiction, but the revelations 
concerning him were deemed sufficiently serious by Germany to 
produce a repudiation of him by the German embassy on direct 
instructions from Berlin, i. e. : 

"The German Government entirely disavows Franz Rintelen, 
and especially wished to say that it issued no instructions of 
any kind which could have led him to violate American laws." 



VON RINTELEN'S ACTIVITIES 25 

It is essential to the record to chronicle that American senti- 
ment did not accept German official disclaimers very seriously. 
They were too prolific, and were viewed as apologetic expedients 
to keep the relations between the two governments as smooth as 
possible in the face of conditions which were daily imperiling 
those relations. Germany appeared in the position of a Franken- 
stein who had created a hydra-headed monster of conspiracy and 
intrigue that had stampeded beyond control, and washed her 
hands of its depredations. The situation, however, was only 
susceptible to this view by an inner interpretation of the official 
disclaimers. In letter, but not in spirit, Germany disowned her 
own offspring by repudiating the deeds of plotters in terms 
which deftly avoided revealing any ground for the suspicion — 
belied by events — that those deeds had an official inception. Ger- 
many, in denying that the plotters were Government "agents," 
suggested that these men pursued their operations with the 
recognition that they alone undertook all the risks, and that if 
unmasked it was their patriotic duty not to betray "the cause," 
which might mean their country, the German Government, or 
the German officials who directed them. Not all the exposed cul- 
prits had been equal to this self-abnegating strain on their 
patriotism ; some, like Fay, were at first talkative in their ad- 
missions that their pursuits were officially countenanced, an- 
other recounted defense of Werner Horn, who attempted to de- 
stroy a bridge connecting Canada and the United States, even 
went so far as to contend that the offense was military — an act 
of war — and therefore not criminal, on the plea that Horn was 
acting as a German army officer. In other cases incriminating 
evidence made needless the assumption of an attitude by culprits 
of screening by silence the complicity of superiors. Yet despite 
almost daily revelations linking the names of important German 
officials, diplomatic and consular, with exposed plots, a further 
repudiation came from Berlin in December, 1915, when the New 
York Grand Jury's investigation was at high tide. This further 
disavowal read : 

"The German Government, naturally, has never knowingly ac- 
cepted the support of any person, group of persons, society or 



26 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

organization seeking to promote the cause of Germany in the 
United States by illegal acts, by counsels of violence, by contra- 
vention of law, or by any means whatever that could offend the 
American people in the pride of their own authority. ... I 
can only say, and do most emphatically declare to Germans 
abroad, to German-American citizens of the United States, to 
the American people all alike, that whoever is guilty of conduct 
tending to associate the German cause with lawlessness of 
thought, suggestion or deed against life, property, and order in 
the United States is, in fact, an enemy of that very cause and a 
source of embarrassment to the German Government, notwith- 
standing he or they may believe to the contrary." 

The stimulus for this politic disavowal, and one must be 
sought, since German statements always had a genesis in antece- 
dent events — was not apparently due to continued plot exposures, 
which were too frequent, but could reasonably be traced to a 
ringing address President Wilson had previously made to 
Congress on December 7, 1915. The President, amid the pro- 
longed applause of both Houses, meeting in joint session, de- 
nounced the unpatriotism of many Americans of foreign descent. 
He warned Congress that the gravest threats against the na- 
tion's peace and safety came from within, not from without. 
Without naming German-Americans, he declared that many 
"had poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our 
national life," and called for the prompt exercise of the processes 
of law to purge the country "of the corrupt distempers brought 
on by these citizens." 

"I am urging you," he said in solemn tones, "to do nothing 
less than save the honor and self-respect of the nation. Such 
creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed 
out." 

Three days before this denunciation, the Administration had 
demanded from Germany the recall of Captains Boy-Ed and Von 
Papen, respectively the military aid and naval attache of the 
German embassy. Unlike the procedure followed in requesting 
Dr. Dumba's recall, no reasons were given. None according to 
historic usage were necessary, and if reasons were given, they 



VON RINTELEN'S ACTIVITIES 27 

could not be questioned. It was sufficient that a diplomatic 
officer was non persona grata by the fact that his withdrawal was 
demanded. 

Germany, through her embassy, showed some obduracy in 
acting upon a request for these officials' recall without citing the 
cause of complaint. There was an anxiety that neither should 
be recalled with the imputation resting upon them that they v/ere 
concerned, say, in the so-called Huerta-Mexican plot — if one really 
existed — or with the conspiracies to destroy munition plants and 
munition ships, or, in Captain Boy-Ed*s case, in the Hamburg- 
American line's chartered ships for provisioning of German 
cruisers, sailing with false manifests and clearance papers. 

An informal note from Secretary Lansing to Count von Bern- 
storff so far acceded to the request for a bill of particulars, 
though not customary, that the German embassy professed to be 
satisfied. Secretary Lansing stated that Captains Boy-Ed and 
Von Papen had rendered themselves unacceptable by "their ac- 
tivities in connection with naval and military affairs." This was 
intended to mean that such activities here indicated had brought 
the two officials in contact with private individuals in the United 
States who had been involved in violation of the law. The inci- 
dents and circumstances of this contact were of such a cumula- 
tive character that the two attaches could no longer be deemed 
as acceptable to the American Government. Here was an un- 
doubted implication of complicity by association with wrong- 
doers, but not in deed. The unofficial statement of the cause of 
complaint satisfied the embassy in that it seemed to relieve the 
two officers from the imputation of themselves having violated 
American laws. The record stood, however, that the United 
States had officially refused to give any reasons for demanding 
their recall. Germany officially recalled them on December 10, 
1915, and before the year was out they quitted American soil 
under safe conducts granted by the British Government. 

Captain von Papen, however, was not permitted to escape the 
clutches of the British on the ocean passage. While respecting 
his person, they seized his papers. These, duly published, made 
his complicity in the German plots more pronounced than ever. 



I. 



28 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

His check counterfoils showed a payment of ?500 to "Mr. de 
Caserta, Ottawa." De Caserta was described in British records 
as "a dangerous German spy, who takes great risks, has lots of 
ability, and wants lots of money." He was supposed to have 
been involved in conspiracies in Canada to destroy bridges, 
armories, and munition factories. He had offered his services to 
the British Government, but they were rejected. Later he was 
reported to have been shot or hanged in London as a spy. 

Another check payment by Captain von Papen was to Werner 
Horn for $700. Horn, as before recorded, was the German who 
attempted to blow up a railroad bridge at Vanceboro, Maine. 
Other payments shown by the Von Papen check book were to 
Paul Koenig, of the Hamburg-American line. Koenig was ar- 
rested in New York in December, 1915, on a charge of conspir- 
acy with others to set on foot a military expedition from the 
United States to destroy the locks of the Welland Canal for the 
purpose of cutting off traffic from the Great Lakes to the St. 
Lawrence River. 

The German qonsul at Seattle was shown to have received $500 
l^rom Captain von Papen shortly before an explosion occurred 
enere in May, 1915, and $1,500 three months earlier. Another 
payment was to a German, who, while under arrest in England 
on a charge of being a spy, committed suicide. 



CHAPTER IV 



GREAT BRITAIN'S DEFENSE OF BLOCKADE — 

AMERICAN METHODS IN CIVIL 

WAR CITED 

ISSUES with Great Britain interposed to engage the Adminis- 
tration's attention, in the brief intervals when Germany's be- 
havior was not doing so, to the exclusion of all other international 
controversies produced by the war. In endeavoring to balance 
the scales between the '"'^^tending belligerents, the United States 



DEFENSE OF BLOCKADE RULE 29 

had to weigh judicially the fact that their offenses differed 
greatly in degree. Germany's crimes were the wanton slaughter 
of American and other neutral noncombatants, Great Britain's 
the wholesale infringements of American and neutral property 
rights. Protests menacing a rupture of relations had to be made 
in Germany's case; but those directed to Great Britain, though 
not less forceful in tone, could not equitably be accompanied by 
a hint of the same alternative. Arbitration by an international 
court was the final recourse on the British issues. Arbitration 
could not be resorted to, in the American view, for adjusting the 
issues with Germany. 

The Anglo-American trade dispute over freedom of maritime 
commerce by neutrals during a war occupied an interlude in the 
crisis with Germany. The dispatch of the third Lusitania note 
of July 21, 1915, promised a breathing spell in the arduous diplo- 
matic labors of the Administration, pending Germany's response. 
But a few days later the Administration became immersed in 
Great Britain's further defense of her blockade methods, con- 
tained in a group of three communications, one dated July 24, 
and two July 31, 1915, in answer to the American protests of 
March 31, July 14, and July 15, 1915. The main document, dated 
July 24, 1915, showed both Governments to be professing and 
insisting upon a strict adherence to the same principles of inter- 
national law, while sharply disagreeing on the question whether 
measures taken by Great Britain conformed to those principles. 

The United States had objected to certain interferences with 
neutral trade Great Britain contemplated under her various 
Orders in Council. The legality of these orders the United States 
contested. Great Britain was notified by a caveat, sent July 14, 
1915, that American rights assailed by these interferences with 
trade would be construed under accepted principles of inter- 
national law. Hence prize-court proceedings based on British 
municipal legislation not in conformity with such principles' 
would not be recognized as valid by the United States. 

Great Britain defended her course by stating the premise that 
a blockade was an allowable expedient in war — ^which the United 
States did not question — and upon that premise reared a struc- 



30 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

ture of argument which emphasized the wide gap between British 
and American interpretations of international law. A blockade 
being allowable, Great Britain held that it was equally allowable 
to make it effective. If the only way to do so was to extend the 
blockade to enemy commerce passing through neutral ports, then 
such extension was warranted. As Germany could conduct her 
commerce through such ports, situated in contiguous countries, 
almost as effectively as through her own ports, a blockade of Ger- 
man ports alone would not be effective. Hence the Allies asserted 
the right to widen the blockade to the German commerce of 
neutral ports, but sought to distinguish between such commerce 
and the legitimate trade of neutrals for the use and benefit of 
their own nationals. Moreover, the Allies forebore to apply the 
rule, formerly invariable, that ships with cargoes running a 
blockade were condemnable. 

On the chief point at issue Sir Edward Grey wrote : 

"The contention which I understand the United States Govern- 
ment now puts forward is that if a belligerent is so circumstanced 
that his commerce can pass through adjacent neutral ports as 
easily as through ports in his own territory, his opponent has no 
right to interfere and must restrict his measure of blockade in 
such a manner as to leave such avenues of commerce still open 
to his adversary. 

"This is a contention which his Majesty's Government feel 
unable to accept and which seems to them unsustained either in 
point of law or upon principles of international equity. They are 
unable to admit that a belligerent violates any fundamental 
principle of international law by applying a blockade in such a 
way as to cut out the enemy's commerce with foreign countries 
through neutral ports if the circumstances render such an appli- 
cation of the principles of blockade the only means of making it 
effective." 

In this connection Sir Edward Grey recalled the position of the 
United States in the Civil War, when it was under the necessity 
of declaring a blockade of some 3,000 miles of coast line, a mili- 
tary operation for which the number of vessels available was at 
first very small : 



DEFENSE OF BLOCKADE RULE 31 

"It was vital to the cause of the United States in that great 
struggle that they should be able to cut off the trade of the 
Southern States. The Confederate armies were dependent on 
supplies from overseas, and those supplies could not be obtained 
without exporting the cotton wherewith to pay for them. 

"To cut off this trade the United States could only rely upon 
a blockade. The difficulties confronting the Federal Government 
were in part due to the fact that neighboring neutral territory 
afforded convenient centers from which contraband could be 
introduced into the territory of their enemies and from which 
blockade running could be facilitated. 

"In order to meet this new difficulty the old principles relating 
to contraband and blockade were developed, and the doctrine of 
continuous voyage was applied and enforced, under which goods 
destined for the enemy territory were intercepted before they 
reached the neutral ports from which they were to be reexported. 
The difficulties which imposed upon the United States the neces- 
sity of reshaping some of the old rules are somewhat akin to 
those with which the Allies are now faced in dealing with the 
trade of their enemy." 

Though an innovation, the extension of the British blockade 
to a surveillance of merchandise passing in and out of a neutral 
port contiguous to Germany was not for that reason impermis- 
sible. Thus that preceded the British contention, which, more- 
over, recognized the essential thing to be observed in changes of 
law and usages of war caused by new conditions was that such 
changes must "conform to the spirit and principles of the essence 
of the rules of war." The phrase was cited from the American 
protest by way of buttressing the argument to show that the 
United States itself, as evident from the excerpt quoted, had 
freely made innovations in the law of blockade within this re- 
striction, but regardless of the views or interests of neutrals. 
These American innovations in blockade methods, Great Britain 
maintained, were of the same general character as those adopted 
by the allied powers, and Great Britain, as exemplified in the 
Springbok case, had assented to them. As to the American con- 
tention that there was a lack of written authority for the British 

C— War St. 5 



82 ■ THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

innovations or extensions of the law of blockade, the absence of 
such pronouncements was deemed unessential. Sir Edward Grey 
considered that the function of writers on international law was 
to formulate existing principles and rules, not to invent or dictate 
alterations adapting them to altered circumstances. 

So, to sum up, the modifications of the old rules of blockade 
adopted were viewed by Great Britain as in accordance with the 
general principles on which an acknowledged right of blockade 
was based. They were not only held to be justified by the 
exigencies of the case, but could be defended as consistent with 
those general principles which had been recognized by both 
governments. 

The United States declined to accept the view that seizures and 
detentions of American ships and cargoes could justifiably be 
made by stretching the principles of international law to fit war 
conditions Great Britain confronted, and assailed the legality of 
the British tribunals which determined whether such seizures 
were prizes. Great Britain had been informed : 

". . . So far as the interests of American citizens are con- 
cerned the Government of the United States will insist upon their 
rights under the principles and rules of international law as 
hitherto established, governing neutral trade in time of war, 
without limitation or impairment by order in council or other 
municipal legislation by the British Government, and will not 
recognize the validity of prize-court proceedings taken under 
restraints imposed by British municipal law in derogation of the 
rights of American citizens under international law." 

British prize-court proceedings had been fruitful of bitter 
grievances to the State Department from the American mer- 
chants affected. Sir Edward Grey pointed out that American in- 
terests had this remedy in challenging prize-court verdicts: 

"It is open to any United States citizen whose claim is before 
the prize court to contend that any order in council which may 
affect his claim is inconsistent with the principles of international 
law, and is, therefore, not binding upon the court. 

"If the prize court declines to accept his contentions, and if, 
^fter such a decision has been upheld on appeal by the judicial 



DEFENSE OF BLOCKADE RULE 33 

committee of His Majesty's Privy Council, the Government of the 
United States considers that there is serious ground for holding 
that the decision is incorrect and infringes the rights of their 
citizens, it is open to them to claim that it should be subjected 
to review by an international tribunal." 

One complaint of the United States, made on July 15, 1915, had 
been specifically directed to the action of the British naval 
authorities in seizing the American steamer Neches, sailing from 
Rotterdam to an American port, with a general cargo. The 
ground advanced to sustain this action was that the goods orig- 
inated in part at least in Belgium, and hence came within the 
Order in Council of March 11, 1915, which stipulated that every 
merchant vessel sailing from a port other than a German port, 
carrying goods of enemy origin, might be required to discharge 
such goods in a British or allied port. The Neches had been 
detained at the Downs and then brought to London. Belgian 
goods were viewed as being of "enemy origin," because coming 
from territory held by Germany. This was the first specific case 
of the kind arising under British Orders in Council affecting 
American interests, the goods being consigned to United States 
citizens. 

Great Britain on July 31, 1915, justified her seizure of the 
Neches as coming within the application of her extended block- 
ade, as previously set forth, which with great pains she had 
sought to prove to the United States was permissible, under in- 
ternational law. Her defense in the Neches case, however, was 
viewed as weakened by her citing Germany's violations of inter- 
national law to excuse her extension of old blockade principles to 
the peculiar circumstances of the present war. In intimating 
that so long as neutrals tolerated the German submarine war- 
fare, they ought not to press her to abandon blockade measures 
that were -a consequence of that warfare. Great Britain was 
regarded as lowering her defense toward the level of the posi- 
tion taken by Germany. Sir Edward Grey's plan was thus 
phrased : 

"His Majesty's Government are not aware, except from the 
published correspondence between the United States and Ger- 



34 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

many, to what extent reparation has been claimed from Germany 
by neutrals for loss of ships, lives, and cargoes, nor how far these 
acts have been the subject even of protest by the neutral govern- 
ments concerned. 

"While these acts of the German Government continue, it 
seems neither reasonable nor just that His Majesty's Government 
should be pressed to abandon the rights claimed in the British 
note and to allow goods from Germany to pass freely through 
waters effectively patrolled by British ships of war." 

Such appeals the American Government had sharply repudi- 
ated in correspondence with Germany on the submarine issue. 
Great Britain, however, unlike Germany, did not admit that the 
blockade was a reprisal, and therefore without basis of law, on 
the contrary, she contended that it was a legally justifiable 
measure for meeting Germany's illegal acts. 

The British presentation of the case commanded respect, 
though not agreement, as an honest endeavor to build a defense 
from basic facts and principles by logical methods. One com- 
mendatory view, while not upholding the contentions, paid Sir 
Edward Grey's handling of the British defense a generous tribute, 
albeit at the expense of Germany : 

"It makes no claim which offends humane sentiment or affronts 
the sense of natural right. It makes no insulting proposal for 
the barter or sale of honor, and it resorts to no tricks or evasions 
in the way of suggested compromise. It seeks in no way to enlist 
this country as an auxiliary to the allied cause under sham pre- 
tenses of humane intervention." 

The task before the State Department of making a convincing 
reply to Sir Edward Grey's skillful contentions was generally 
regarded as one that would test Secretary Lansing's legal re- 
sources. The problem was picturesquely sketched by the New 
York "Times": 

"The American eagle has by this time discovered that the shaft 
directed against him by Sir Edward Grey was feathered with his 
own plumage. To meet our contentions Sir Edward cites our 
own seizures and our own court decisions. It remains to be seen 
whether out of strands plucked from the mane and tail of the 



BLOCKADE DENOUNCED AS ILLEGAL 35 

British lion we can fashion a bowstring which will give effec- 
tive momentum to a counterbolt launched in the general direction 
of Downing Street." 



CHAPTER V 

BRITISH BLOCKADE DENOUNCED AS ILLEGAL 

AND INEFFECTIVE BY THE UNITED 

STATES — THE AMERICAN 

POSITION 

SECRETARY Lansing succeeded in accomplishing the diffi- 
cult task indicated at the conclusion of the previous chapter. 
The American reply to the British notes was not dispatched until 
October 21, 1915, further friction with Germany having inter- 
vened over the Arabic, It constituted the long-deferred protest 
which ex-Secretary Bryan vainly urged the President to make to 
Great Britain simultaneously with the sending of the third 
Lnsitania note to Germany. The President declined to consider 
the issues on the same footing or as susceptible to equitable 
diplomatic survey unless kept apart. 

The note embraced a study of eight British communications 
made to the American Government in 1915 up to August 13, re- 
lating to blockade restrictions on American commerce imposed 
by Great Britain. It had been delayed in the hope that the an- 
nounced intention of the British Government "to exercise their 
belligerent rights with every possible consideration for the inter- 
est of neutrals," and their intention of "removing all causes of 
avoidable delay in dealing with American cargoes," and of caus- 
ing "the least possible amount of inconvenience to persons en- 
gaged in legitimate trade," as well as their "assurance to the 
"United States Government that they would make it their first 
aim to minimize the inconveniences" resulting from the "meas- 
ures taken by the allied governments," would in practice not un- 
justifiably infringe upon the neutral rights of American citizens 
engaged in trade and commerce. The hope had not been realized. 



36 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

The detentions of American vessels and cargoes since the 
opening of hostilities, presumably under the British Orders in 
Council of August 20 and October 29, 1914, and March 11, 1915, 
formed one specific complaint. In practice these detentions, thel 
United States contended, had not been uniformly based on proofs 
obtained at the time of seizure. Many vessels had been detained 
while search was made for evidence of the contraband character 
of cargoes, or of intention to evade the nonintercourse measures 
of Great Britain. The question became one of evidence to sup- 
port a belief — in many cases a bare suspicion — of enemy destina- 
tion or of enemy origin of the goods involved. The United States 
raised the point that this evidence should be obtained by search 
at sea, and that the vessel and cargo should not be taken to a 
British port for the purpose unless incriminating circumstances 
warranted such action. International practice to support this 
view was cited. Naval orders of the United States, Great Britain, 
Russia, Japan, Spain, Germany, and France from 1888 to the 
opening of the present war showed that search in port was not 
contemplated by the government of any of these countries. 

Great Britain had contended that the American objection to 
search at sea was inconsistent with American practice during 
the Civil War. Secretary Lansing held that the British view 
of the American sea policy of that period was based on a 
misconception : 

"Irregularities there may have been at the beginning of that 
war, but a careful search of the records of this Government as 
to the practice of its commanders shows conclusively that there 
were no instances when vessels were brought into port for search 
prior to instituting prize court proceedings, or that captures 
were made upon other grounds than, in the words of the Ameri- 
can note of November 7, 1914, evidence found on the ship under 
investigation and not upon circumstances ascertained from ex- 
ternal sources." Mii^b 

Great Britain justified bringing vessels to port for search be- 
cause of the size and seaworthiness of modem carriers and the 
difficulty of uncovering at sea the real transaction owing to the 
intricacy of modern trade operations. The United States sub- 



BLOCKADE DENOUNCED AS ILLEGAL 37 

mitted that such commercial transactions were essentially no 
more complex and disguised than in previous wars, during which 
the practice of obtaining evidence in port to determine whether 
a vessel should be held for prize-court proceedings was not 
adopted. As to the effect of size and seaworthiness of merchant 
vessels upon search at sea, a board of naval experts reported : 

"The facilities for boarding and inspection of modern ships 
are in fact greater than in former times, and no difference, so 
far as the necessities of the case are concerned, can be seen be- 
tween the search of a ship of a thousand tons and one of twenty 
thousand tons, except possibly a difference in time, for the pur- 
pose of establishing fully the character of her cargo and the 
nature of her service and destination." 

The new British practice, which required search at port in- 
stead of search at sea, in order that extrinsic evidence might be 
sought (i. e., evidence other than that derived from an examina- 
tion of the ship at sea) , had this effect : 

"Innocent vessels or cargoes are now seized and detained on 
mere suspicion while efforts are made to obtain evidence from ex- 
traneous sources to justify the detention and the commencement 
of prize proceedings. The effect of this new procedure is to 
subject traders to risk of loss, delay and expense so great and so 
burdensome as practically to destroy much of the export trade 
of the United States to neutral countries of Europe." 

The American note next assailed the British interpretation of 
the greatly increased imports of neutral countries adjoining 
Great Britain's enemies. These increases. Sir Edward Grey con- 
tended, raised a presumption that certain commodities useful for 
military purposes, though destined for those countries, were in- 
tended for reexportation to the belligerents, who could not im- 
port them directly. Hence the detention of vessels bound for 
the ports of those neutral countries was justified. Secretary 
Lansing denied that this contention could be accepted as laying 
down a just and legal rule of evidence : 

"Such a presumption is too remote from the facts and offers 
too great opportunity for abuse by the belligerent, who could, if 
the rule were adopted, entirely ignore neutral rights on the high 



38 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

seas and prey with impunity upon neutral commerce. To such 
a rule of legal presumption this Government cannot accede, as it 
is opposed to those fundamental principles of justice which are 
the foundation of the jurisprudence of the United States and 
Great Britain." 

In this connection Secretary Lansing seized upon the British 
admission, made in the correspondence, that British exports to 
those neutral countries had materially increased since the war 
began. Thus Great Britain concededly shared in creating a con- 
dition relied upon as a sufficient ground to justify the intercep- 
tion of American goods destined to neutral European ports. The 
American view of this condition was : 

"If British exports to those ports should be still further in- 
creased, it is obvious that under the rule of evidence contended 
for by the British Government, the presumption of enemy 
destinations could be applied to a greater number of American 
cargoes, and American trade would suffer to the extent that 
British trade benefited by the increase. Great Britain cannot 
expect the United States to submit to such manifest injustice or 
to permit the rights of its citizens to be so seriously impaired. 

"When goods are clearly intended to become incorporated in 
the mass of merchandise for sale in a neutral country it is an un- 
warranted and inquisitorial proceeding to detain shipments for 
examination as to whether those goods are ultimately destined 
for the enemy's country or use. Whatever may be the con- 
jectural conclusions to be drawn from trade statistics, which, 
when stated by value, are of uncertain evidence as to quantity, 
the United States maintains the right to sell goods into the gen- 
eral stock of a neutral country, and denounces as illegal and un- 
justifiable any attempt of a belligerent to interfere with that 
right on the ground that it suspects that the previous supply of 
such goods in the neutral country, which the imports renew or 
replace, has been sold to an enemy. That is a matter with which 
the neutral vendor has no concern and which can in no way af- 
fect his rights of trade." 

The British practice had run counter to the assurances Great 
Britain made in establishing the blockade, which was to be so 



BLOCKADE DENOUNCED AS ILLEGAL 39 

extensive as to prohibit all trade with Germany or Austria- 
Hungary, even through the ports of neutral countries adjacent 
to them. Great Britain admitted that the blockade should not, 
and promised that it would not, interfere with the trade of 
countries contiguous to her enemies. Nevertheless, after six 
months' experience of the "blockade," the United States Gov- 
ernment was convinced that Great Britain had been unsuc- 
cessful in her efforts to distinguish between enemy and neutral 
trade. 

The United States challenged the validity of the blockade be- 
cause it was ineffective in stopping all trade with Great Britain's 
enemies. A blockade, to be binding, must be maintained by force 
sufficient to prevent all access to the coast of the enemy, accord- 
ing to the Declaration of Paris of 1856, which the American note 
quoted as correctly stating the international rule as to blockade 
that was universally recognized. The effectiveness of a blockade 
was manifestly a question of fact : 

"It is common knowledge that the German coasts are open to 
trade with the Scandinavian countries and that German naval 
vessels cruise both in the North Sea and the Baltic and seize and 
bring into German ports neutral vessels bound for Scandinavian 
and Danish ports. Furthermore, from the recent placing of 
cotton on the British list of contraband of war it appears that 
the British Government had themselves been forced to the con- 
clusion that the blockade is ineffective to prevent shipments of 
cotton from reaching their enemies, or else that they are doubt- 
ful as to the legality of the form of blockade which they have 
sought to maintain." 

Moreover, a blockade must apply impartially to the ships of all 
nations. The American note cited the Declaration of London and 
the prize rules of Germany, France, and Japan, in support of that 
principle. In addition, "so strictly has this principle been 
enforced in the past that in the Crimean War the Judicial Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council on appeal laid down that if belliger- 
ents themselves trade with blockaded ports they cannot be re- 
garded as effectively blockaded. (The Franciska, Moore, P. C. 
56). This decision has special significance at the present time 



40 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

since it is a matter of common knowledge that Great Britain ex- 
ports and reexports large quantities of merchandise to Norway, 
Sweden, Denmark, and Holland, whose ports, so far as American 
commerce is concerned, she regards as blockaded." 

Finally, the law of nations forbade the blockade of neutral 
ports in time of war. The Declaration of London specifically 
stated that "the blockading forces must not bar access to neutral 
ports or coasts." This pronouncement the American Govern- 
ment considered a correct statement of the universally accepted 
law as it existed to-day and prior to the Declaration of London. 
Though not regarded as binding upon the signatories because 
not ratified by them, the Declaration of London, the American 
note pointed out, had been expressly adopted by the British Gov- 
ernment, without modification as to blockade, in the Order in 
Council of October 9, 1914. More than that. Secretary Lansing 
recalled the views of the British Government "founded on the 
decisions of the British Courts," as expressed by Sir Edward 
Grey in instructing the British delegates to the conference which 
formulated the Declaration of London, and which had assembled 
in that city on the British Government's invitation in 1907. 
These views were : 

"A blockade must be confined to the ports and coast of the 
enemy, but it may be instituted of one port or of several ports 
or of the whole of the seaboard of the enemy. It may be insti- 
tuted to prevent the ingress only, or egress only, or both." 

The United States Government therefore concluded that, 
measured by the three universally conceded tests above set forth, 
the British policy could not be regarded as constituting a block- 
ade in law, in practice, or in effect. So the British Government 
was notified that the American Government declined to recog- 
nize such a "blockade" as legal. 

Stress had been laid by Great Britain on the ruling of the 
Supreme Court of the United States on the SpringboJc case. The 
ruling was that goods of contraband character, seized while 
going to the neutral port of Nassau, though actually bound foi* 
the blockaded ports of the South, were subject to condemnation. 
Secretary Lansing recalled that Sir Edward Grey, in his instrue- 



BLOCKADE DENOUNCED AS ILLEGAL 41 

tion to the British delegates to the London conference before 
mentioned, expressed this view of the case, as held in England 
prior to the present war : 

"It is exceedingly doubtful whether the decision of the Su- 
preme Court was in reality meant to cover a case of blockade 
running in which no question of contraband arose. Certainly if 
such was the intention the decision would pro tanto be in con- 
flict with the practice of the British courts. His Majesty's 
Government sees no reason for departing from that practice, and 
you should endeavor to obtain general recognition of its 
correctness." 

The American note also pointed out that "the circumstances 
surrounding the Springbok case were essentially different from 
those of the present day to which the rule laid down in that case 
is sought to be applied. When the Springbok case arose the 
ports of the confederate states were effectively blockaded by the 
naval forces of the United States, though no neutral ports were 
closed, and a continuous voyage through a neutral port required 
an all sea voyage terminating in an attempt to pass the blockad- 
ing squadron." 

Secretary Lansing interjected new elements into the contro- 
versy in assailing as unlawful the jurisdiction of British prize 
courts over neutral vessels seized or detained. Briefly, Great 
Britain arbitrarily extended her domestic law, through the pro- 
mulgation of Orders in Council, to the high seas, which the 
American Government contended were subject solely to interna- 
tional law. So these Orders in Council, under which the British 
naval authorities acted in making seizures of neutral shipping, 
and under which the prize courts pursued their procedure, were 
viewed as usurping international law. The United States held 
that Great Britain could not extend the territorial jurisdiction of 
her domestic law to cover seizures on the high seas. A recourse 
to British prize courts by American claimants, governed as those 
courts were by the same Orders in Council which determined the 
conditions under which seizures and detentions were made, con- 
stituted in the American view, the form rather than the sub- 
stance of redress : 



42 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"It is manifest, therefore, that, if prize courts are bound by 
the laws and regulations under which seizures and detentions 
are made, and which claimants allege are in contravention of the 
law of nations, those courts are powerless to pass upon the real 
ground of complaint or to give redress for wrongs of this na- 
ture. Nevertheless, it is seriously suggested that claimants are 
free to request the prize court to rule upon a claim of conflict be- 
tween an Order in Council and a rule of international law. How 
can a tribunal fettered in its jurisdiction and procedure by munic- 
ipal enactments declare itself emancipated from their restric- 
tions and at liberty to apply the rules of international law with 
freedom? The very laws and regulations which bind the court 
are now matters of dispute between the Government of the 
United States and that of His Britannic Majesty." 

The British Government, in pursuit of its favorite device of 
seeking in American practice parallel instances to justify her 
prize-court methods, had contended that the United States, in 
Civil War contraband cases, had also referred foreign claimants 
to its prize courts for redress. Great Britain at the time of the 
American Civil War, according to an earlier British note, "in 
spite of remonstrances from many quarters, placed full reliance 
on the American prize courts to grant redress to the parties in- 
terested in cases of alleged wrongful capture by American ships 
of war and put forward no claim until the opportunity for re- 
dress in those courts had been exhausted." 

This did not appear to be altogether the case. Secretary Lan- 
sing pointed out that Great Britain, during the progress of the 
Civil War, had demanded in several instances, through diplo- 
matic channels, while cases were pending, damages for seizures 
and detentions of British ships alleged to have been made with- 
out legal justification. Moreover, "it is understood also that 
during the Boer War, when British authorities seized,. the Ger- 
man vessels, the Herzog, the General and the Bundesrath, and 
released them without prize court proceedings, compensation for 
damages suffered was arranged through diplomatic channels." 

The point made here was by way of negativing the position 
Great Britain now took that, pending the exhaustion of legal 



BLOCKADE DENOUNCED AS ILLEGAL 43 

remedies through the prize courts with the result of a denial of 
justice to American claimants, "it cannot continue to deal 
through the diplomatic channels with the individual cases." 

The United States summed up its protest against the British 
practice of adjudicating on the interference with American ship- 
ping and commerce on the high seas under British municipal 
law as follows : 

"The Government of the United States, has, therefore, viewed 
with surprise and concern the attempt of His Majesty's Govern- 
ment to confer upon the British prize courts jurisdiction by this 
illegal exercise of force in order that these courts may apply to 
vessels and cargoes of neutral nationalities, seized on the high 
seas, municipal laws and orders which can only rightfully be en- 
forceable within the territorial waters of Great Britain, or 
against vessels of British nationality when on the high seas. 

"In these circumstances the United States Government feels 
that it cannot reasonably be expected to advise its citizens to 
seek redress before tribunals which are, in its opinion, unauthor- 
ized by the unrestricted application of international law to grant 
reparation, nor to refrain from presenting their claims directly 
to the British Government through diplomatic channels." 

The note, as the foregoing series of excerpts show, presented 
an array of legal arguments formidable enough to persuade any 
nation at war of its wrongdoing in adopting practices that 
caused serious money losses to American interests and demoral- 
ized American trade with neutral Europe. Great Britain, how- 
ever, showed that she was not governed by international law 
except in so far as it was susceptible to an elastic interpretation, 
and held, by implication, that a policy of expediency imposed by 
modem war conditions condoned, if it did not also sanction, 
infractions. 

Nothing in Great Britain's subsequent actions, nor in the utter- 
ances of her statesmen, could be construed as promising any 
abatement of the conditions. In fact, there was an outcry in 
England that the German blockade should be more stringent by 
extending it to all neutral ports. Sir Edward Grey duly con- 
vinced the House of Commons that the Government could not 



44 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

contemplate such a course, which he viewed as needless, as well 
as a wrong to neutrals. 

As to the hostility of the neutrals to British blockade methods, 
Sir Edward Grey said : 

"What I would say to neutrals is this : There is one main ques- 
tion to be answered — Do they admit our right to apply the prin- 
ciples which were applied by the American Government in the 
war between the North and South — ^to apply those principles to 
modem conditions, and to do our best to prevent trade with the 
enemy through neutral countries ? 

"If they say *Yes' — as they are bound in fairness to say — 
then I would say to them: *Do let chambers of commerce, or 
whatever they may be, do their best to make it easy for us to 
distinguish.' 

"If, on the other hand, they answer it that we are not entitled 
to interrupt trade with the enemy through neutral countries, I 
must say definitely that if neutral countries were to take that 
line, it is a departure from neutrality." 



CHAPTER VI 



GREAT BRITAIN UNYIELDING — EFFECT OP 

TJIE BLOCKi^DE — THE CHICAGO 

MEAT PACKERS' CASE 

THE existing restrictions satisfied Great Britain that Ger- 
many, without being brought to her knees, was feeling the 
pinch of food shortage. To that extent — and it was enough in 
England's view — the blockade was effective, the contentions of 
the United States notwithstanding. So Great Britain's course 
indicated that she would not relax by a hair the barrier she had 
reared round the German coast; but she sought to minimize the 
obstacles to legitimate neutral trade, so far as blockade condi- 
tions permitted, and was disposed to pay ample compensation foir 
losses as judicially determined. The outlook was that American 



GREAT BRITAIN UNYIELDING 45 

scores against her could only be finally settled by arbitral tri- 
bunals after the war was over. Satisfaction by arbitration thus 
remained the only American hope in face of Great Britain's re- 
solve to keep Germany's larder depleted and her export trade at 
a standstill, whether neutrals suffered or not. Incidentally, the 
United States was reminded that in the Civil War it served no- 
tice on foreign governments that any attempts to interfere with 
the blockade of the Confederate States would be resented. The 
situation then, and the situation now, with the parts of the two 
countries reversed, were considered as analogous. 

A parliamentary paper showed that the British measures 
adopted to intercept the sea-borne commerce of Germany had 
succeeded up to September, 1915, in stopping 92 per cent of Ger- 
man exports to America. Steps had also been taken to stop ex- 
ports on a small scale from Germany and Austria-Hungary by 
parcel post. The results of the blockade were thus summarized : 

"First, German exports to overseas countries have almost en- 
tirely stopped. Exceptions which have been made are cases in 
which a refusal to allow the export goods to go through would 
hurt the neutral country concerned without inflicting injury 
upon Germany. 

"Second, all shipments to neutral countries adjacent to Ger- 
many have been carefully scrutinized with a view to the detec- 
tion of a concealed enemy destination. Wherever there has been 
a reasonable ground for suspecting the destination, the goods 
have been placed in charge of a prize court. Doubtful consign- 
ments have been detained pending satisfactory guarantees. 

"Third, under agreement with bodies of representative mer- 
chants of several neutral countries adjacent to Germany, strin- 
gent guarantees have been exacted from importers. So far as 
possible all trade between neutrals and Germany, whether aris- 
ing from oversea or in the country itself, is restricted. 

"Fourth, by agreements with shipping lines and by vigorous 
use of the power to refuse bunker coal in large proportions the 
neutral mercantile marine which trades with Scandinavia and 
Holland has been induced to agree to conditions designed to pre- 
vent the goods of these ships from reaching Germany. 



46 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"Fifth, every effort is being made to introduce a system of 
rationing which will insure that the neutrals concerned will im- 
port only such quantities of articles as are specified as normally 
imported for their own consumption." 

The case of the Chicago meat packers, involving food consign- 
ments to neutral European countries since the war's outbreak, 
came before a British prize court before the American protest 
had been lodged. Apparently the issues it raised dictated in 
some degree the contentions Secretary Lansing made. The Brit- 
ish authorities had seized thirty-three vessels mainly bearing 
meat products valued at $15,000,000, twenty-nine of which had 
been held without being relegated for disposal to the prize courts. 
The remaining four cargoes, held for ten months, and worth 
$2,500,000 were confiscated by a British prize court on Septem- 
ber 15, 1915. The goods were declared forfeited to the Crown. 
One of the factors influencing the decision was the sudden ex- 
pansion in shipments of food products to the Scandinavian coun- 
tries immediately after the war began. The president of the 
prize court. Sir Samuel Evans, asserted that incoming vessels 
were carrying more than thirteen times the amount of goods to 
Copenhagen — ^the destination of the four ships involved — above 
the volume which under normal conditions arrived at that port. 
He cited lard, the exportation of which by one American firm 
had increased twentyfold to Copenhagen in three weeks after 
the war, and canned meat, of which Denmark hitherto had only 
taken small quantities, yet the seized vessels carried hundreds of 
thousands of tins. 

The confiscation formed the subject of a complaint made by 
Chicago beef packers to the State Department on October 6, 
1915. The British Court condemned the cargoes on the grounds : 
(1) that the goods being in excess of the normal consumption of 
Denmark, raised a presumption that they were destined for, i. e., 
eventually would find their way into Germany. (2) That, owing 
to the highly organized state of Germany, in a military sense, 
there was practically no distinction between the civilian and 
military population of that country and therefore there was a 
presumption that the goods, or a very large proportion of them, 



GREAT BRITAIN UNYIELDING 47 

would necessarily be used by the military forces of the German 
Empire. (3) That the burden of proving that such goods were 
not destined for, i. e., would not eventually get into the hands of 
the German forces, must be accepted and sustained by the Ameri- 
can shippers. 

The Chicago beef firms besought the Government to register 
an immediate protest against the decision of the prize court and 
demand from the British Government adequate damages for 
losses arising from the seizure, detention and confiscation of the 
shipments of meat products. They complained that the judg- 
ment and the grounds on which it was based were contrary to 
the established principles of international law, and subversive of 
the rights of neutrals. The judgment, they said, was unsup- 
ported by fact, and was based on inferences and presumptions. 
Direct evidence on behalf of the American firms interested, to 
the effect that none of the seized shipments had been sold, con- 
signed or destined to the armed forces or to the governments of 
any enemy of Great Britain, was uncontradicted and disregarded 
and the seizures were upheld in the face of an admission that no 
precedent of the English courts existed justifying the condemna- 
tion of goods on their way to a neutral port. 

An uncompromising defense of the prize court's decision came 
to the State Department from the British Government a few 
days later. Most of the seizures, it said, were not made under 
the Order in Council of March 11, 1915, the validity of which 
and of similar orders was disputed by the United States Govern- 
ment. The larger part of the cargoes were seized long before 
March, 1915. The ground for the seizures was that the cargoes 
were conditional contraband destined from the first by the Chi- 
cago beef packers, largely for the use of the armies, navies and 
Government departments of Germany and Austria, and only sent 
to neutral ports with the object of concealing their true destina- 
tion. 

From cablegrams and letters in the possession of the British 
Government and produced in court, the statement charged, "it 
was clear and that packers' agents in these neutral countries, 
and also several of the consigners, who purported to be genuine 

D— War St. 5 



48 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

neutral buyers, were merely persons engaged by the packers on 
commission, or sent by the packers from their German branches 
for the purpose of insuring the immediate transit of these con- 
signments to Germany. ... No attempt was made by any 
written or other evidence to explain away the damning evidence 
of the telegrams and letters disclosed by the Crown. The infer- 
ence was clear and irresistible that no such attempt could be 
made, and that any written evidence there was would have merely 
confirmed the strong suspicion, amounting to a practical 
certainty, that the) whole of the operations of shipment to 
Copenhagen and other neutral ports were a mere mask to cover 
a determined effort to transmit vast quantities of supplies 
through to the German and Austrian armies." 

A portion of the Western press had denounced the confiscation 
as a "British outrage" and as "robbery by prize court" ; but the 
more moderate Eastern view was that, while American business 
men had an undoubted right to feed the German armies, if they 
could, they were in the position of gamblers who had lost if the 
British navy succeeded in intercepting the shipments. 

Exaggerated values placed on American-owned goods held up 
for months at Rotterdam and other neutral ports by British be- 
came largely discounted on October 1, 1915, under the scrutiny 
of the Foreign Trade Advisers of the State Department. These 
goods were German-made for consignment to the United 
States, and would only be released if the British Government 
were satisfied that they were contracted for by American import- 
ers before March 1, 1915, the date on which the British blockade 
of Germany began. Early protests against their detention com- 
plained that $50,000,000 was involved ; later the value of the de- 
tained goods was raised to $150,000,000. But actual claims made 
by American importers to the British Embassy, through the 
Foreign Trade Advisers, seeking the release of the consign- 
ments, showed that the amount involved was not much more 
than $11,000,000 and would not exceed $15,000,000 at the most 



SEIZURE OF SUSPECTED SHIPS 49 



CHAPTER VII 

SEIZURE OF SUSPECTED SHIPS — TRADINa 
WITH THE ENEMY — THE APPAM — THE 
ANGLO-FRENCH LOAN — FORD 
PEACE EXPEDITION 

THE next issue the United States raised with Great Britain 
related to the seizure of three ships of American registry — 
the Hocking, Genesee and the Kankakee — in November, 1915, on 
the ground that they were really German-owned. France had 
also confiscated the Solveig of the same ownership for a like 
reason. The four vessels belonged to the fleet of the American 
Transatlantic Steamship Company, the formation of which 
under unusual circumstances was recorded earlier in this his- 
tory. Great Britain and France served notice that this company's 
vessels were blacklisted, and became seizable as prizes of war be- 
cause of the suspicion that German interests were behind the 
company, and that its American officials with their reputed hold- 
ings of stock were therefore really prizes for German capital. 
The Bureau of Navigation had at first refused registry to these 
vessels, but its ruling was reversed, and the vessels were ad- 
mitted, the State Department taking the view that it could not 
disregard the company's declaration of incorporation in the 
United States, and that its officers were American citizens. 
Great Britain sought to requisition the vessels for navy use 
without prize-court hearings, but on the United States protesting 
she agreed to try the cases. 

Another dispute arose, in January, 1916, over the operation of 
the Trading with the Enemy Act, one of Great Britain's war 
measures, the provisions of which were enlarged to forbid Brit- 
ish merchants from trading with any person or firm, resident in 
a neutral country, which had German ownership or German 
trade connections. The United States objected to the pro- 
hibition as constituting a further unlawful interference with 
American trade. It held that in war time the trade of such a 



50 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

person or firm domiciled in a neutral country had a neutral 
status, and consequently was not subject to interference; hence 
goods in transit of such a trader were not subject to confisca- 
tion by a belligerent unless contraband and consigned to an 
enemy country. 

An example of the working of the act was the conviction of 
three members of a British glove firm for trading with Germany 
through their New York branch. They had obtained some 
$30,000 worth of goods from Saxony between October, 1915, and 
January, 1916, the consignments evading the blockade and 
reaching New York, whence they were reshipped to England. 
One defendant was fined $2,000; the two others received terms 
of imprisonment. 

While the act would injure American firms affiliated with 
German interests, it aimed to press hardest upon traders in 
neutral European countries contiguous to Germany who were 
trading with the Germans and practically serving as inter- 
mediaries to save the Germans from the effect of the Allies* 
blockade. 

The appearance of a captured British steamer, the Appam, at 
Newport News, Va., on February 1, 1916, in charge of a German 
naval lieutenant, Hans Berg, and a prize crew, involved the 
United States in a new maritime tangle with the belligerents. 
One of the most difficult problems which Government officials had 
encountered since the war began, presented itself for solution. 
The Appam, as elsewhere described, was captured by a German 
raider, the Moewe (Sea Gull) , off Madeira, and was crowded with 
passengers, crews, and German prisoners taken from a number 
of other ships the Moewe had sunk. Lieutenant Berg, for lack of 
a safer harbor, since German ports were closed to him, sought 
for refuge an American port, and claimed for his prize the 
privilege of asylum under the protection of American laws — 
until he chose to leave. Count von BernstorfF, the German 
Ambassador, immediately notified the State Department that 
Germany claimed the Appam as a prize under the Prussian- 
American Treaty of 1828, and would contend for possession of 
the ship. 



SEIZURE OF SUSPECTED SHIPS 51 

This treaty was construed as giving German prizes brought to 
American ports the right to come and go. The British Govern- 
ment contested the German claim by demanding the release of 
the Appam under The Hague Convention of 1907. This inter- 
national treaty provided that a merchantman prize could only 
be taken to a neutral port under certain circumstances of dis- 
tress, injury, or lack of food, and if she did not depart within a 
stipulated time the vessel could not be interned, but must be 
restored to her original owners with all her cargo. Were the 
Appam thus forcibly released she would at once have been re- 
captured by British cruisers waiting off the Virginia Capes. The 
view which prevailed officially was that the case must be gov- 
erned by the Prussian treaty, a liberal construction of which ap- 
peared to permit the Appam to remain indefinitely at Newport 
News. This was what happened, but not through any acquies- 
cence of the State Department in the German contention. The 
Appam owners, the British and African Steam Navigation Com- 
pany, brought suit in the Federal Courts for the possession of 
the vessel, on the ground that, having been brought into a neu- 
tral port, she lost her character as a German prize, and must be 
returned to her owners. Pending a determination of this action, 
the Appam was seized by Federal marshals under instructions 
from the United States District Court, under whose jurisdiction 
the vessel remained. 

After twelve months of war Great Britain became seriously 
concerned over the changed conditions of her trade with the 
United States. Before the war the United States, despite its 
vast resources and commerce, bought more than it sold abroad, 
and was thus always a debtor nation, that is, permanently owing 
money to Europe. In the stress of war Great Britain's exports 
to the United States, like those of her Allies, declined and her im- 
ports enormously increased. She sold but little of her products 
to her American customers and bought heavily of American 
foodstuffs, cotton, and munitions. The result was that Great 
Britain owed a great deal more to the United States than the 
latter owed her. The unparalleled situation enabled the United 
States to pay off her old standing ind^tedness to Europe and 



52 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

became a creditor nation. American firms were exporting to the 
allied powers, whose almoner Great Britain was, commodities of 
a value of $100,000,000 a month in excess of the amount they 
were buying abroad. Hence what gold was sent from London, 
at the rate of $15,000,000 to $40,000,000 monthly, to pay for 
these huge purchases was wholly insufficient to meet the accumu- 
lating balance of indebtedness against England. 

The effect of this reversal of Anglo-American trade balance 
was a decline in the exchange value of the pound sterling, which 
was normally worth $4,861/2 in American money, to the unprece- 
dented level of $4.50. This decline in sterling was reflected in 
different degrees in the other European money markets, and the 
American press was jubilant over the power of the dollar to buy 
more foreign money than ever before. Because Europe bought 
much more merchandise than she sold the demand in London for 
dollar credit at New York was far greater than the demand in 
New York for pound credit at London. Hence the premium on 
dollars and the discount on pounds. It was not a premium upon 
American gold over European gold, but a premium on the means 
of settling debts in dollars without the use of gold. Europe pre- 
ferred to pay the premium rather than send sufficient gold, 
because, for one reason, shipping gold was costly and more 
than hazardous in war time, and, for another, all the bellig- 
erents wanted to retain their gold as long as they could afford 
to do so. 

An adjustment of the exchange situation and a reestablish- 
ment of the credit relations between the United States and the 
allied powers on a more equitable footing was imperative. The 
British and French Governments accordingly sent a commission 
to the United States, composed of some of their most distin- 
guished financiers — government officials and bankers — ^to ar- 
range a loan in the form of a credit with American bankers to 
restore exchange values and to meet the cost of war munitions 
and other supplies. After lengthy negotiations a loan of $500,- 
000,000 was agreed upon, at 5 per cent interest, for a term of 
five years, the bonds being purchasable at 98 in denominations 
as low as $100. The principal and interest were payable in New 



SEIZURE OF SUSPECTED SHIPS 53 

York City — in gold dollars. The proceeds of the loan were to be 
employed exclusively in the United States to cover the Allies' 
trade obligations. 

The loan was an attractive one to the American investor, yield- 
ing as it did a fraction over 5% per cent. It was the only ex- 
ternal loan of Great Britain and France, for the repayment of 
which the two countries pledged severally and together their 
credit, faith, and resources. No such an investment had before 
been offered in the United States. 

Strong opposition to the loan came from German-American 
interests. Dr. Charles Hexamer, president of the German- 
American Alliance, made a country-wide appeal urging Ameri- 
can citizens to "thwart the loan*' by protesting to the President 
and the Secretary of State. Threats were likewise made by Ger- 
man depositors to withdraw their deposits from banks which 
participated in the loan. The Government, after being consulted, 
had given assurances that it would not oppose the transaction 
as a possible violation of neutrality — ^if a straight credit, not as 
actual loan, was negotiated. Conformity to this condition made 
all opposition fruitless. 

Toward the close of 1915 an ambitious peace crusade to Europe 
was initiated by Henry Ford, the automobile manufacturer. 
Accompanied by 148 pacifists, he sailed on the Scandinavian- 
American liner, Oscar II, early in December, 1915, with the 
avowed purpose of ending the war before Christmas. The expe- 
dition was viewed dubiously by the allied powers, who discerned 
pro-German propaganda in the presence of Teutonic sym- 
pathizers among the delegates. They also suspected a design to 
accelerate a peace movement while the gains of the war were 
all on Germany's side, thus placing the onus of continuing hos- 
tilities on the Allies if they declined to recognize the Ford peace 
party as mediators. The American Government, regardful of 
the obligations of neutrality, notified the several European Gov- 
ernments concerned that the United States had no connection 
with the expedition, and assumed no responsibility for any 
activities the persons comprising it might undertake in the pro- 
motion of peace. 



I. 



54 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

CHAPTER VIII 

AMERICAN PACIFICISM — PREPAREDNESS — 
MUNITION SAFEGUARD 

THE Ford peace mission, lightly regarded though it was, never- 
theless recorded itself on the annals of the time as symp- 
tomatic of a state of mind prevailing among a proportion of the 
American people. It might almost be said to be a manifestation 
of the pacifist sentiment of the country. This spirit found a 
channel for expression in the Ford project, bent on hurling its 
protesting voice at the chancellories of Europe, and heedless of 
the disadvantage its efforts labored under in not receiving the 
countenance of the Administration. 

"The mission of America in the world," said President Wilson 
in one of his speeches, "is essentially a mission of peace and 
good will among men. She has become the home and asylum of 
men of all creeds and races. America has been made up out of 
the nations of the world, and is the friend of the nations of the 
world." 

But Europe was deaf alike to official and unofficial overtures 
of the United States as a peacemaker. The Ford expedition was 
foredoomed to failure, not because it was unofficial — official pro- 
posals of mediation would have been as coldly received — but 
more because the pacifist movement it represented was a home 
growth of American soil. The European belligerents, inured and 
case-hardened as they were to a militarist environment, had not 
been sufficiently chastened by their self-slaughter. 

The American pacifists, with a scattered but wide sentiment 
behind them, consecrated to promoting an abiding world peace, 
and espousing the internationalism of the Socialists to that end, 
and President Wilson, standing aloof from popular manifesta- 
tions, a solitary watchman on the tower, had perforce to wait 
until the dawning of the great day when Europe had accom- 
plished the devastating achievement of bleeding herself before 
she could extend beckoning hands to American mediation. 



AMERICAN PACIFICISM 55 

In the autumn of 1915 the President inaugurated his campaign 
for national defense, or "preparedness," bred by the dangers 
more or less imminent while the European War lasted. "We 
never know what to-morrow might bring forth," he warned. In 
a series of speeches throughout the country he impressed these 
view s on the people : 

The United States had no aggressive purposes, but must be 
prepared to defend itself and retain its full liberty and self- 
development. It should have the fullest freedom for national 
growth. It should be prepared to enforce its right to unmo- 
lested action. For this purpose a citizen army of 400,000 was 
needed to be raised in three years, and a strengthened navy as 
the first and chief line of defense for safeguarding at all costs 
the good faith and honor of the nation. The nonpartisan sup- 
port of all citizens for effecting a condition of preparedness, 
coupled with the revival and renewal of national allegiance, he 
said, was also imperative, and Americans of alien sympathies who 
were not responsive to such a call on their patriotism should be 
called to account. 

This, in brief, constituted the President's plea for prepared- 
ness. But such a policy did not involve nor contemplate the con- 
quest of other lands or peoples, nor the accomplishment of any 
purpose by force beyond the defense of American territory, nor 
plans for an aggressive war, military training that would inter- 
fere unduly with civil pursuits, nor panicky haste in defense 
preparations. 

The President took a midway stand. He stood between the 
pacifists and the extremists, who advocated the militarism of 
Europe as the inevitable policy for the United States to adopt to 
meet the dangers they fancied. 

The country's position, as the President saw it, was stated by 
him in a speech delivered in New York City: 

"Our thought is now inevitably of new things about which 
formerly we gave ourselves little concern. We are thinking now 
chiefly of our relations with the rest of the world, not our com- 
mercial relations, about those we have thought and planned 
always, but about our political relations, our duties as an indi- 



56 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

vidual and independent force in the world to ourselves, our 
neighbors and the world itself. 

"Within a year we have witnessed what we did not believe 
possible, a great European conflict involving many of the great- 
est nations of the world. The influences of a great war are 
everywhere in the air. All Europe is embattled. Force every- 
where speaks out with a loud and imperious voice in a Titanic 
struggle of governments, and from one end of our own dear 
country to the other men are asking one another what our own 
force is, how far we are prepared to maintain ourselves against 
any interference with our national action or development. 

'We have it in mind to be prepared, but not for war, but only 
for defense; and with the thought constantly in our minds that 
the principles we hold most dear can be achieved by the slow 
processes of history only in the kindly and wholesome atmos- 
phere of peace, and not by the use of hostile force. 

"No thoughtful man feels any panic haste in this matter. The 
country is not threatened from any quarter. She stands in 
friendly relations with all the world. Her resources are known 
and her self-respect and her capacity to care for her own citizens 
and her own rights. There is no fear among us. Under the new- 
world conditions we have become thoughtful of the things which 
all reasonable men consider necessary for security and self- 
defense on the part of every nation confronted with the great 
enterprise of human liberty and independence. That is all.*' 

Readiness for defense was also the keynote of the President's 
address to Congress at its opening session in December, 1915; 
but despite its earnest plea for a military and naval program, 
and a lively public interest, the message was received by Congress 
in a spirit approaching apathy. 

The President, meantime, pursued his course, advocating his 
preparedness program, and in no issue abating his condemnation 
of citizens with aggressive alien sympathies. 

In one all-important military branch there was small need for 
anxiety. The United States was already well armed, though 
not well manned. The munitions industry, called into being by 
the European War, had grown to proportions that entitled the 



AMERICAN PACIFICISM 57 

country to be ranked with first-class powers in its provision and 
equipment for rapidly producing arms and ammunition and other 
war essentials on an extensive scale. Conditions were very dif- 
ferent at the outset of the war. One of the American contentions 
in defense of permitting war-munition exports — as set forth in 
the note to Austria-Hungary — was that if the United States 
accepted the principle that neutral nations should not supply war 
materials to belligerents, it would itself, should it be involved 
in war, be denied the benefit of seeking such supplies from 
neutrals to amplify its own meager productions. 

But the contention that the country in case of war would have 
to rely on outside help could no longer be made on the face of 
the sweeping change in conditions existing after eighteen months 
of the war. From August, 1914, to January, 1916, inclusive, 
American factories had sent to the European belligerents ship- 
ment after shipment of sixteen commodities used expressly for 
war purposes of the unsurpassed aggregate value of $865,795,668. 
Roughly, $200,000,000 represented explosives, cartridges, and 
firearms; $150,000,000 automobiles and accessories; and $250,- 
000,000 iron and steel and copper manufacturing. 

This production revealed that the United States could meet 
any war emergency out of its own resources in respect of sup- 
plies. Its army might be smaller than Switzerland's and its navy 
inadequate, but it would have no cause to go begging for the 
guns and shells needful to wage war. 

How huge factories were built, equipped, and operated in three 
months, how machinery for the manufacture of tinware, type- 
writers, and countless other everyday articles was adapted to 
shell making ; and how methods for producing steel and reducing 
ores were revolutionized — ^these developments form a romantic 
chapter in American industrial history without a parallel in that 
of any other country. 

The United States, in helping the European belligerents who 
had free intercourse with it, was really helping itself. It was 
building better than it knew. The call for preparedness, pri- 
marily arising out of the critical relations with Germany, turned 
the country's attention to a contemplation of an agreeable new 



58 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

condition — ^that the European War, from which it strove to be 
free, had given it an enormous impetus for the creation of a 
colossal industry, which in itself was a long step in national pre- 
paredness, and that much of this preparedness had been provided 
without cost. The capital sunk in the huge plants which supplied 
the belligerents represented, at $150,000,000, an outlay amortized 
or included in the price at which the munitions were sold. Thus, 
when the last foreign contract was fulfilled, the United States 
would have at its own service one of the world's greatest munition 
industries — and Europe will have paid for it. 



PART II— OPERATIONS ON THE SEA 



CHAPTER IX 

NAVAL ENGAGEMENTS IN MANY WATERS 

THE months which brought the second year of war to a close 
were marked by increased activity on the part of all the navies 
engaged. Several single-ship actions took place, and the Ger- 
mans pursued their submarine tactics with steady, if not bril- 
liant, results. 

It was during this period that they sent the first submersible 
merchant ship across the Atlantic and gave further proof of 
having developed undersea craft to an amazing state of effi- 
ciency. On their part the British found new and improved 
methods of stalking submarines until it was a hazardous 
business for such craft to approach the British coast. A con- 
siderable number were captured; just how many was not re- 
vealed. 

After a slackening in the submarine campaign against mer- 
chant ships, due partly to a division of opinion at home and 
largely to the growing protests of neutrals, Germany declared 
that after March 1, 1916, every ship belonging to an enemy that 
carried a gun would be considered an auxiliary, and torpedoed 
without warning. (For an account of the negotiations with 
the United States in relation to this edict, se« United States 
and the Belligerents, Vol. V, Part X.) 

A spirited fight took place in the North Sea on March 24, 
1916, when the Greif, sl German auxiliary of 10,000 tons, met 
the Alcantara, 15,300 tons, a converted British merchantman. 
The Greif was attempting to slip through the blockade under 

59 ^ 



60 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Norwegian colors when hailed. She parleyed with the British 
vessel until the latter came within a few hundred yards of her. 
Then, seeing a boat put out, the German unmasked her guns and 
opened fire. Broadside after broadside. In twelve minutes the 
Greif was on fire and the Alcantara sinking from the explosion 
of a torpedo. The Greif might have got away had not 
two other British vessels come on the scene, the converted 
cruiser Andes ending her days with a few long-range shots. 
One hundred and fifteen men and officers out of 300 on the 
Greif were saved, and the British lost five officers and sixty- 
nine men. Both vessels went to the bottom after as gallant 
an action as the war had produced. The Greif was equipped 
for a raiding cruise and also was believed to have had on board 
a big cargo of mines. When the fire started by exploding shells 
reaching her hold she blew up with a terrific detonation and 
literally was split in twain. Officers of the Alcantara spoke 
warmly of their enemy's good showing. One of them said that 
they approached to within two hundred yards of the Greif 
before being torpedoed and boarding parties actually had been 
ordered to get ready. They were preparing to lash the rigging 
of the two vessels together in the time-honored way and settle 
accounts with sheath knives when the torpedo struck and the 
Alcantara drifted away helpless. 

On the stroke of midnight, February 29, 1916, the German 
edict went into effect placing armed merchantmen in a classi- 
fication with auxiliary cruisers. The opening of March also 
was marked by the deliverance of a German ultimatum in 
Lisbon, demanding that ships seized by the Portuguese be sur- 
rendered within forty-eight hours. Thirty-eight German and 
Austrian steamers had been requisitioned, striking another blow 
at Teutonic sea power. Most of these belonged to Germany. 
Coincident with Portugal's action Italy commandeered thirty-four 
German ships lying in Italian ports, and several others in her 
territorial waters. All Austrian craft had been seized months 
before, but the fiction of peace with Germany still was punc- 
tiliously observed by both nations. Despite this action Germany 
did not declare war upon her quondam ally. 



NAVAL ENGAGEMENTS IN MANY WATERS 61 

Italy brought another issue sharply to the fore in the early 
days of March. A few of her passenger vessels running to 
America and other countries had been armed previous to that 
time. It was done quietly, and commanders found many reasons 
for the presence of guns on their vessels. Of a sudden all 
Italian passenger craft sailed with 3-inch pieces fore and aft. 

Berlin announced that on the first day of March, 1916, Ger- 
man submarines had sunk two French auxiliaries off Havre, 
and a British patrol vessel near the mouth of the Thames. 
Paris promptly denied the statement, and London was noncom- 
mittal. No other particulars were made public. Russian troops 
landed on the Black Sea coast on March 6, 1916, under the gunsi 
of a Russian naval division and took Atina, seventy-five miles east 
of Trebizond, the objective of the Grand Duke Constantine's 
army. Thirty Turkish vessels, mostly sailing ships loaded 
with war supplies, were sunk along the shore within a few 
days. 

Winston Spencer Churchill, former First Lord of the Admir- 
alty, on March 7, 1916, delivered a warning in the House of Com- 
mons against what he believed to be inadequate naval prepara- 
tions. He challenged statements made by Arthur J. Balfour, 
his successor, on the navy's readiness. Mr. Balfour had just 
presented naval estimates to the House, and among other things 
set forth that Britain had increased her navy by 1,000,000 tons 
and more than doubled its personnel since hostilities began. 
This encouraging assurance impressed the world, but Colonel 
Churchill demanded that Sir John Fisher, who had resigned 
as First Sea Lord, be recalled to his post. 

An announcement from Tokyo, March 8, 1916, served to show 
the new friendship between Russia and Japan. Three war- 
ships captured by the Japanese in the conflict with Russia were 
purchased by the czar and added to Russian naval forces. They 
were the Soya, the Tango and the Sagami, formerly the Variag, 
Poltava and Peresviet, all small but useful ships. Following 
the capture of Atina, the Russians took Rizeh on March 9, 1916,» 
a city thirty-five miles east x)f Trebizond, an advance of forty 
miles in three days toward that important port. The fleet co- 



62 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

operated, and it was announced that the defenses of Trebizond 
itself were under fire and fast crumbling away. 

On March 16, 1916, the Holland-Lloyd passenger steamer 
Tuhantid, a vessel of 15,000 tons, was sunk near the Dutch 
coast by a mine or torpedo. She was commonly believed to 
have been the victim of a submarine. Her eighty-odd passen- 
gers and 300 men reached shore. Several Americans were 
aboard. Statements by some of the crew that four persons lost 
their lives could not be verified, but several of the Tuhantia's 
officers made affidavit that the vessel was torpedoed. 

The incident aroused public feeling in Holland to fever pitch, 
and there were threats of war. Germany hastened to deny 
that a submarine attacked the ship, and made overtures to the 
Dutch Government, offering reparation if it could be estab- 
lished that a German torpedo sank the steamer. This was 
never proved, and nothing came of the matter. But it cost 
Germany many friends in Holland and intensified the fear and 
hatred entertained toward their neighbor by the majority of 
Hollanders. It served to keep Dutch troops, already mobilized, 
under arms, and gave Berlin a bad quarter hour. 

Fast on the heels of this incident came the sinking of another 
Dutch steamer, the Palembang, which was torpedoed and went 
down March 18, 1916, near Galloper Lights in a Thames estu- 
ary. Three torpedoes struck the vessel and nine of her crew 
were injured. This second attack in three days upon Dutch 
vessels wrought indignation in Holland to the breaking point 
The Hague sent a strong protest to Berlin, which again replied 
in a conciliatory tone, hinting that an English submarine had 
fired on the Palembang in the hope of embroiling Holland with 
Germany. This suggestion was instantly rejected by the Dutch 
press and people. Negotiations failed to produce any definite 
result, save to prolong the matter until tension had been some- 
what relieved. The French destroyer Renaudin fell prey to a 
submarine in the Adriatic on the same day. Three officers, 
including the commander, and forty-four of her crew, were 
drowned. Vienna also announced the loss in the Adriatic of the 
hospital ship Elektra on March 18, 1916. She was said to have 



NAVAL ENGAGEMENTS IN MANY WATERS 63 

been torpedoed, although properly marked. One sailor was 
killed and two nuns serving as nurses received wounds. 

German submarine activity in the vicinity of the Thames was 
emphasized March 22, 1916, when the Galloper Lightship, well 
known to all seafaring men, went to the bottom after being 
torpedoed. The vessel was stationed off dangerous shoals near 
the mouth of the river. The Germans suffered the loss of a 
7,000-ton steamship on this day, when the Esparanza was sunk 
by a Russian warship in the Black Sea. She had taken refuge 
in the Bulgarian port of Varna at the outbreak of the conflict 
and attempted to reach Constantinople with a cargo of food- 
stuffs, but a Russian patrol vessel ended her career. 

Another tragedy of the sea came at a moment when strained 
relations between Germany and the United States made almost 
anything probable. The Sussex, a Channel steamer plying be- 
tween Folkestone and Dieppe, was hit by a torpedo March 24, 
1916, when about three hours' sail from the former port, and 
some fifty persons lost their lives. A moment after the missile 
struck there was an explosion in the engine room that spread 
panic among her 386 passengers, many of whom were Belgian 
women and children refugees bound for England. One or two 
boats overturned, and a number of frightened women jumped 
into the water without obtaining life preservers. Others strapped 
on the cork jackets and were rescued hours later. Some of 
the victims were killed outright by the impact of the torpedo 
and the second explosion. Fortunately the vessel remained afloat 
and her wireless brought rescue craft from both sides of the 
Channel. 

The rescuers picked up practically all of those in the water 
who had donned life belts and took aboard those in the boats. 
Many of the passengers, including several Americans, saw the 
torpedo's wake. It was stated that the undersea craft ap- 
proached the Sussex under the lee of a captured Belgian vessel, 
and when within easy target distance fired the torpedo. Ac- 
cording to this version, the Belgian ship then was compelled 
to put about and leave the stricken steamer's passengers and 
crew to what seemed certain destruction. The presence of 

E—War St. & 



64 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

this third craft never was definitely estabHshed, although 
vouched for by a number of those on the Sussex, 

Of thirty American passengers five or six sustained painful 
injuries. The victims included several prominent persons, one 
of whom was Enrique Granados, the Spanish composer, and 
his wife. They had just returned from the United States where 
they had witnessed the presentation of his opera "Goyescas." 

The Sussex, which flew the French flag, although owned by 
a British company, had no guns aboard and was in no wise 
an auxiliary craft. She reached Boulogne in tow, and the 
American consul there reported that undoubtedly she had been 
torpedoed. (For an account of the negotiations between the 
United States and Germany in relation to this affair see United 
States and the Belligerents, Vol. V, Part X.) Ambassador Ger- 
ard, in Berlin, was instructed to ask the German Government for 
any particulars of the incident in its possession, so as to aid the 
United States in reaching a conclusion. Berlin, after much eva- 
sion, admitted that a submarine had sunk a vessel near the 
spot where the Sussex was lost, but gave it an entirely different 
description. 

The British converted liner Minneapolis, used as a trans- 
port, was torpedoed in the Mediterranean with a loss of eleven 
lives, although this vessel also stayed afloat, according to a 
statement issued in London, March 26, 1916. She was a ship 
of 15,543 tons and formerly ran in the New York-Liverpool 
service. In a brush between German and British forces near 
the German coast, March 25, 1916, a British light cruiser, the 
Cleopatra, rammed and sunk a German destroyer. The British 
destroyer Medusa also was sunk, but her crew escaped to other 
vessels. In addition the Germans lost two of their armed fishing 
craft. 

Fourteen nuns and 101 other persons were killed or drowned 
March 30, 1916, when the Russian hospital ship Portugal was 
sunk in the Black Sea between Batum and Rizeh on the Ana- 
tolian coast by a torpedo. The Portugal had stopped and was 
preparing to take aboard wounded men on shore. Several of 
those on the vessel saw the periscope of a submarine appear 



NAVAL ENGAGEMENTS IN MANY WATERS 65 

above the waves, but had no fear of an attack, as the Portugal 
was plainly marked with the Red Cross insignia and was flying 
a Red Cross flag from her peak. 

The submarine circled about the ships twice and then, to the 
horror of those who were watching, fired a torpedo. The mis- 
sile went astray, but another followed and found its mark. Al- 
though the ship was at anchor, with the shore near by, it was 
impossible to get all of her crew and wounded to safety. 

This attack greatly incensed Russia. She sent protests to all 
of the neutral powers, calling attention to the deed perpetrated 
against her. The flame of national anger was fanned higher 
when Constantinople issued a statement saying that a Turkish 
submarine had sunk the Portugal, claiming that she flew the 
Russian merchant flag without any of the usual Red Cross mark- 
ings upon her hull. It was said that the explosion which shat- 
tered the vessel was caused by the presence of ammunition. 

On the morning of March 30, 1916, the steamship Matoppo, 
a British freighter, put into Lewes, Delaware, with her master 
and his crew of fifty men held prisoners by a single individual. 
Ernest Schiller, as he called himself, had gone aboard the Ma- 
toppo in New York, March 29, 1916, and hid himself away until 
the vessel passed Sandy Hook, bound for Vladiovstok. Then 
he came out and with the aid of two weapons which the captain 
described as horse pistols, proceeded to cow the master and crew. 
Schiller announced that the Matoppo was a German prize of 
war and that he would shoot the first man who moved a hostile 
hand. The crew believed him. They also had an uneasy fear 
that certain bombs which Schiller mentioned would be set off 
unless they obeyed. 

With Schiller in command the Matoppo headed down the coast, 
her captor keeping vigil. Off Delaware he ordered the captain 
to make port. The latter obeyed, but also signaled to shore that 
a pirate was aboard. Port authorities then sent a boat along- 
side, and Schiller was arrested. He admitted under examination 
that he and three other men had plotted to blow up the Cunard 
liner Pannonia, They bought the dynamite and made the 
bombs, but his companions' courage failed, and the plan was 



66 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

abandoned. Then it was proposed to stow away on some out- 
ward bound ship, seize her at sea and make for Germany. With 
this purpose in mind Schiller got aboard the Matoppo, but the 
other conspirators deserted him. Not to be foiled, he captured 
the vessel single-handed. It developed that his name was 
Clarence Reginald Hodson, his father having been an English- 
man, but he was bom of a German mother, had been raised in 
Germany, and was fully in sympathy with the German cause. 
After a trial he was sent to prison for life, the only man serving 
such a sentence in the United States on a charge of piracy. 



CHAPTER X 

MINOR ENGAGEMENTS AND LOSSES 

THE beginning of April found growing discontent among 
neutrals against the British blockade of Germany and the 
virtual embargo on many other nations. Sweden especially 
demonstrated resentment. The United States made new repre- 
sentations about the seizure and search of first-class mail. All 
of this did not deter the Allies from pursuing their policy of 
attrition toward Germany. 

The opening day of the month saw the arrival in New York 
harbor of the first armed French steamer to reach that port. The 
Vulcain, a freighter, tied up at her dock with a 47-milli- 
tneter quick-firing gun mounted at the stem. Inquiries followed, 
with the usual result, and the advancing days found other French 
vessels arriving, some of the passenger liners carrying three and 
four 75-millimeter pieces, the famous 75's. 

On April 5, 1916, Paris announced that French and British 
warships had sunk a submarine at an unnamed point and cap- 
tured the crew. In this connection it should be said that many 
reports were current of frequent captures made by the Allies 
of enemy submersibles. The British seldom admitted such cap- 
tures, seeking to befog Berlin as to the fate of her submarines. 



MINOR ENGAGEMENTS AND LOSSES. 67 

But there was little doubt that numbers of them had been taken 
by both French and British. 

An Austrian transport was torpedoed by a French submarine 
and lost in the Adriatic, April 8, 1916. Neither the loss of life 
nor the name of the vessel was made public by Vienna. 

Two days later a Russian destroyer, the Strogi, rammed and 
sunk an enemy submersible near the spot where the hospital ship 
Portugal was torpedoed. 

Reports from Paris, April 18, 1916, stated th^t the French had 
captured the submarine that torpedoed the Sussex. It was said 
that her crew and commander were prisoners, and that documen- 
tary evidence had been obtained on the vessel to prove that she 
sank the Sussex, The report could not be verified, but Paris 
semiofficially intimated that she had indisputable proof that the 
Sussex was a submarine's victim. The two incidents coincided 
so well that the capture of the vessel was believed to have been 
made. 

Trebizond fell April 18, 1916, the Russian fleet cooperating 
in a grand assault. This gave Russia possession of a fine port 
on the Turkish side of the Black Sea and marked important 
progress for her armies in Asia. 

Zeebrugge, Belgium, was shelled by the British fleet, April 25, 
1916, the city sustaining one of the longest and heaviest bom- 
bardments which it had suffered since its capture by the Ger- 
mans. As a convenient base for submarines it was a particularly 
troublesome thorn to the Allies, and the bombardment was 
directed mainly at buildings suspected of being submarine work- 
shops, and the harbor defenses. Several vessels were sunk and 
much damage wrought, the German batteries at Heyst, Blanken- 
berghe, and Knocke coming in for the heavy fire. 

Naval vessels on guard engaged the Germans and succeeded in 
driving them off, although outnumbered. Two British cruisers 
were hit, without serious injury. The attack was part of a con- 
certed plan which contemplated a smashing blow at the British 
line, while the Irish trouble engaged attention. 

One British auxiliary was lost and her crew captured and a 
destroyer damaged in a scouting engagement off the Flanders 



68 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

coast on April 25, 1916. The identity of the vessel was never 
learned. The E'22y a British submarine, went down April 25, 
1916, in another fight. The Germans scored again when they 
sank an unidentified guard vessel off the Dogger Bank after dusk 
April 26, 1916. 

Reports from Holland, April 28, 1916, told of the sinking by an 
armed British trawler of a submarine near the north coast of 
Scotland. The enemy vessel had halted two Dutch steamers 
when the trawler appeared. The submersible was said to be of 
the newest and largest type and sixty men were believed to have 
been lost with her. The British announced the sinking of a sub- 
marine on the same day off the east coast, one officer and seven- 
teen men being taken prisoners. It was believed that the two 
reports concerned the same craft. 

London also admitted the loss on April 28, 1916, of the battle- 
ship Ritssell, which struck a mine or was torpedoed in the Medi- 
terranean. Admiral Freemantle, whose flag she bore, was among 
the 600 men saved. The loss of life included one hundred and 
twenty-four officers and men. 

The Ricssell was a vessel of 14,000 tons, carried four 12- 
inch guns, twelve 6-inch pieces, and a strong secondary battery. 
She belonged to the predreadnought period, but was a formidable 
fighting ship. 

The quality of Russia's determination to win victory, despite 
serious reverses in the field, was well indicated by an announce- 
ment made in Petrograd, May 1, 1916. A railroad from the 
capital to Soroka, on the White Sea, begun since the war started, 
had just reached completion. It covered a distance of 386 miles 
and made accessible a port that hitherto had been practically 
useless, where it was proposed to divert commercial shipments. 
This left free for war purposes the port of Archangel, sole 
window of Russia looking upon the west until Soroka was linked 
with Petrograd. German activity had halted all shipping to 
Russian Baltic ports. At the moment announcement was made 
of this event more than 100 ships were waiting for the ice to 
break up, permitting passage to Archangel and Soroka, which 
are held in the grip of the north for many months of each year. 



MINOR ENGAGEMENTS AND LOSSES 69 

A majority of these vessels carried guns, ammunition, harness, 
auto trucks and other things sorely needed by the Czar's armies. 
Additional supplies were pouring in through Vladivostok for 
the long haul across Siberia. 

May 1, 1916, witnessed the destruction of a British mine 
sweeper, the Nasturtium, in the Mediterranean along with the 
armed yacht Aegusa, both said to have been sunk by floating 
mines. 

The Aegusa formerly was the Erin, the private yacht of Sir 
Thomas Lipton, and valued at $375,000 when the Government 
took it over. The craft was well known to Americans, as Sir 
Thomas, several times challenger for the international cup held 
in America, had made more than one trip to our shores on the 
vessel. 

The French submarine Bernouille was responsible for the sink- 
ing of an enemy torpedo boat in the Adriatic, May 4, 1916. 

Washington received a note from Germany, May 6, 1916, offer- 
ing to modify her submarine orders if the United States would 
protest to Great Britain against the stringent blockade laid upon 
Germany. This offer met with prompt rejection. President 
Wilson standing firm and insisting upon disavowal for the sink- 
ing of the Sussex and search of merchantmen before attack. 
(See United States and the Belligerents, Vol. V, Part X.) 

Laden with munitions, the White Star liner Cymric was tor- 
pedoed and sunk May 9, 1916, near the British coast with a loss 
of five killed. The vessel remained afloat for several hours, and 
the remainder of her 110 officers and men were saved. She had 
no passengers aboard. 

An Austrian transport, name unknown, went down in the 
Adriatic, May 10, 1916, after a French submarine torpedoed her. 
She was believed to have had a heavy cargo of munitions, but 
few soldiers, and probably was bound for Durazzo, Albania, from 
Pola, the naval base. 

The M-30, a small British monitor, was struck by shells from a 
Turkish battery upon the island of Kesten in the Mediterranean 
and sunk on the night of May 13, 1916. Casualities consisted of 
two killed and two wounded. 



70 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

The sunny weather of May brought a resumption of attacks 
by British and Russian submarines in the Baltic. May 18, 
1916, London announced that four German steamers, the Kolga, 
Biancha, Hera and Trav, had been halted and destroyed in that 
sea within a few days. Other similar reports followed and Ger- 
man shipping was almost driven from the Baltic, thereby cutting 
off an important source of supply with Sweden and Norway, 
the only neutrals still trading with Germany to any considerable 
extent. For her part, Germany alleged that several merchant 
ships torpedoed by the British were sunk without warning and 
some of the crews killed. London denied the charge and there 
was none to prove or disprove it. 

An Italian destroyer performed a daring feat on the night of 
May 30, 1916, running into the harbor at Trieste and sinking a 
large transport believed to have many soldiers aboard. Scarcely 
a soul was saved, current report stated. The raider crept out to 
sea again and made good her escape. 



CHAPTER XI 



THE BATTLE OP JUTLAND BANK — 
BEGINNING 

A GREAT naval battle was fought in the North Sea off Jutland, 
where, in the afternoon and evening hours of May 31, 1916, 
the fleets of England and Germany clashed in what might have 
been — but was not — ^the most important naval fight in history. 
Why it missed this ultimate distinction is not altogether clear. 
Nor is it altogether clear to which side victory leaned. To 
pronounce a satisfactory judgment on this point we need far more 
information than we have at present, not only as to the respec- 
tive losses of the contending fleets, but as to the objects for 
which the battle was fought and the degree of success attained 
in the accomplishment of these objects. The official German 
report states that the German fleet left port "on a mission to the 
northward." No certain evidence is at hand as to the nature of 



THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND BANK 71 

this mission ; but whatever it was, it can hardly have been accom- 
plished, as the most northerly point reached was less than 180 
miles from the point of departure, and the whole fleet, or what 
was left of it, was back in port within thirty-six hours of the 
time of leaving. 

It has been surmised, and there is some reason to believe, that 
the German plan was to force a passage for their battle cruisers 
through the channel between Scotland and Norway into the open 
sea, where, with their high-speed and long-range guns, they 
might, at least for a time, have paralyzed transatlantic com- 
merce with very serious results for England's industries, and 
still more serious results for her supplies of food. 

Another and a somewhat more plausible theory is that the 
plan contemplated the escape to the open sea, not of the battle 
cruisers themselves, but of a number of very fast armed mer- 
chant cruisers of the Moewe type, which were to repeat the 
Moewe's exploit on a large scale, serving the same purpose that 
the submarines served during the period of their greatest 
activity. Color is lent to this theory by what is known of the 
controversy now going on in Germany between those who advo- 
cate a renewal of the submarine warfare against commerce, and 
those who are opposed to this. It is evident that if fast cruisers 
could be maintained on England's trade routes they might do all 
that the submarine could do and more, and this without raising 
any question as to their rights under international law. 

Whatever the plan was, we must assume that it was thwarted 
by the interposition of the British fleet; and from this point of 
view the battle takes on the aspect of a British victory. The 
German fleet is back behind the fortifications and the mine fields 
of the Helgoland Bight, in the waters which have been its 
refuge for nearly two years of comparative inactivity. And the 
British fleet still holds the command of the sea with a force 
which makes its command complete, and, in all human proba- 
bility, permanent. 

From the narrower point of view of results on the actual field 
of battle, it appears from the evidence at present available that, 
although the Germans were first to withdraw, they had the 



72 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

advantage in that they lost fewer ships than their opponents and 
less important ones. This is not admitted by the British, and 
it may not be true, but we have the positive assurance of the 
German Government that it is so, and no real evidence to the 
contrary. It must therefore be accepted for the present, always 
with remembrance of the fact that the first reports given out by 
the German authorities are admitted to have been understated 
"for military reasons." Only time can tell us whether the world 
has the whole truth even now. But taking the situation as it 
appears from the official statements on both sides the losses are 
as follows : 

British : German : 

Battleships Battleships 

None One 

Battle Cruisers Battle Cruisers 

Three One 

Armored Cruisers Armored Cruisers 

Three None 

Light Cruisers Light Cruisers 

None Four 

Destroyers Destroyers 

Eight Five 

It is certain that the British losses as here given are sub- 
Btantially correct. It is possible, as has been said, that the Ger- 
man losses are much understated. British officers and seamen 
claim to have actually seen several large German ships blow up, 
and they are probably quite honest in these claims. They may 
be right. But it is only necessary to picture to one's self the 
conditions by which all observers were surrounded while the 
appalling inferno of the battle was at its height to understand 
how hopelessly unreliable must be the testimony of participants 
as to what they saw and heard. Four or five 15-inch shells strik- 
ing simultaneously against the armor of a battleship and ex- 
ploding with a great burst of flame and smoke might well suggest 
to an eager and excited observer the total destruction of the 
ship. And an error here would be all the easier when to the 



THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND BANK 73 

confusion of battle was added the obscurity of darkness and 
of fog. 

No doubt the time will come when we shall know, if not the 
full truth, at least enough to justify a conclusion as to the com- 
parative losses. Until that time comes, we may accept the view 
that, measured by the narrow standard of ships and lives lost, 
the Germans had the advantage. This may be true, and yet it 
may be also true that the real victory was with the British, 
since they may have bought with their losses, great as these 
were, that for which they could well afford to pay an even 
higher price. 

According to the statement of Admiral Jellicoe, the British 
fleet has for some months past made a practice of sweeping the 
North Sea from time to time with practically its whole force of 
fighting ships, with a view to discouraging raids by the German 
fleet, and in the hope of meeting any force which might, whether 
for raiding or for any other purpose, have ventured out beyond 
the fortifications and mine fields of the Helgoland Bight. 

On May 31, 1916, the fleet was engaged in one of these excur- 
sions, apparently with no knowledge that the German fleet was 
to be abroad at the same time. 

In accordance with what appears to have been the general 
practice, the Grand Fleet was divided; the main fighting force 
under the command of Admiral Jellicoe himself occupying a 
position near the middle of the North Sea, while the two battle- 
cruiser divisions under Vice Admiral Beatty, supported by a 
division of dreadnoughts of the Queen Elizabeth class under 
Rear Admiral Evan-Thomas, were some seventy miles to the 
southward (Plate I). Admiral Jellicoe had a division of battle 
cruisers and another of armored cruisers in addition to his 
dreadnoughts, and both he and Admiral Beatty were well pro- 
vided with destroyers and light cruisers. 

The day was pleasant, but marked by the characteristic misti- 
ness of North Sea weather; and as the afternoon wore on the 
mist took on more and more the character of light drifting fog, 
making it impossible at times to see clearly more than two or 
three miles. 



74 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 



Jelli&oe 70 miles 
north of Beatty 



^'^ 



5ritish Baitleahip 
Division 

Evan -Tho.was 




5 
t A 





Dritish Battle Cruisers J 



^^"""^^^ir-^.^ 



\ V^'''*'5^ Battleship Fleet 
Q (Jellicoe) 



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Battle Cruisers 


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(Von Hipper) 


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Von Sheer 6o Miles 




South of Von Hipper 




\ German Bat Hesh.p 


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H^n R»ef 



Distribution of Forces 

2'30PM..Mo)^3M9l6 
Not drawn to 5cale. all distances distorted. 

PLATE I. 




THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND BANK 75 

At two o'clock in the afternoon Admiral Beatty's detachment 
was steaming on a northerly course, being then about ninety miles 
west of the coast of Denmark, accompanied by several flotillas of 
destroyers and with a screen of light cruisers thrown out to the 
north and east. 

At about 2.20 p. m. the Galatea, one of the light cruisers en- 
gaged in scouting east of Beatty's battle cruisers, reported smoke 
on the horizon to the eastward, and started to investigate, the 
battle cruisers taking up full speed and following. The Galatea 
and her consorts were soon afterward engaged with a German 
force of similar type, and at 3.80 p. m. a squadron of five 
battle cruisers was made out some twelve miles farther to the 
eastward. 

Beatty immediately swung off to the southeast in the hope of 
getting between the German squadron and its base; but the 
German commander, Vice Admiral von Hipper, changed course 
correspondingly, and the two squadrons continued on courses 
nearly parallel but somewhat converging until, at about 3.45 
p. m., fire was opened on both sides, the range at that time 
being approximately nine miles. About ten minutes after the 
battle was fully joined, the Indefatigable, the rear ship of 
the British column, was struck by a broadside from one or more 
of the enemy ships, and blew up ; and twenty minutes later the 
Queen Mary, latest and most powerful of the British battle 
cruisers, met the same fate. The suddenness and completeness 
of the disaster to these two splendid ships has not yet been ex- 
plained and perhaps never will be. Their elimination threw the 
advantage of numbers actually engaged from the British to the 
German side, but very shortly afterward the leading ships of 
Rear Admiral Thomas's dreadnought division came within range 
and opened fire (Plate II), thus throwing the superiority again 
to the British side. For the next half hour or thereabouts. Von 
Hipper's five battle cruisers were pitted against four battle 
cruisers and four dreadnoughts, and Beatty reports that their 
fire fell off materially, as would naturally be the case. They 
appear, however, to have stood up gallantly under the heavy 
punishment to which they must have been subjected. 



76 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Beatty was drawing slowly ahead, though with little prospect 
of being able to throw his force across the enemy's van, as he 
had hoped to do, his plan being not only to cut the Germans off 
from their base, but to "cap" their column and concentrate the 
fire of his whole force on Von Hipper's leading ships. Had he 
been able to do this he would have secured the tactical advantage 
which is the object of all maneuvering in a naval engagement, 
and would at the same time have compelled Von Hipper to run 
to the northward toward the point from which Jellicoe was 
known to be approaching at the highest speed of his dread- 
noughts. With this thought in mind, Beatty was holding on to 
the southward, taking full advantage of his superiority in both 
speed and gunfire, when a column of German dreadnoughts was 
sighted in the southeast approaching at full speed to form a 
junction with Von Hipper 's squadron (Plate II). Seeing him- 
self thus outmatched, Beatty made a quick change of plan. 
There was no longer any hope of carrying out the plan of throw- 
fng himself across the head of the German column, but if Von 
Hipper could not be driven into Jellicoe's arms it was conceivable 
that he might be led there, and with him the additional force 
that Von Scheer was bringing up to join him. So Beatty turned 
to the northward, and, as he had hoped, Von Hipper followed ; 
not, however, until he had run far enough on the old course to 
effect a junction with Von Scheer, whose battleships fell in 
astern of the battle cruisers as these last swung around to the 
northward and took up a course parallel to that of Beatty and 
Thomas. Thus the running fight was resumed, with the differ- 
ence that both forces were now heading at full speed toward the 
point from which Beatty knew Jellicoe to be approaching. Von 
Hipper*s delay in turning had permitted Beatty to draw ahead, 
and the relative positions of the engaged squadrons were now 
those shown in Plate III. 

It is during this part of the fight that the British accounts 
speak of Beatty as engaging the whole German fleet and as 
being thus tremendously overmatched. A moment's study of 
Plate III will make it clear that this claim is not tenable. With- 
out fuller information than we have of positions and distances, 



THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND BANK 



77 



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4 Dreadnougnl5\ , 
Comin9 within range ^^ r 

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IT 



• •o'4:40 p. M. 
(Head of Column) 



VonHipp€»r iurna north 
diter effect I no junction* 
tehee r. 



with Von Scl 



The Running Fighi to the Southward. 4^52pm 



3:4-8 to 4:40 P.M. 

PLATE n. 



(Hedd ot Column) .* 



German batfWshipa 

Von Scheer approaching 

from thi& qoart-- 



underX 



78 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

it is impossible to say exactly how many of Von Scheer's ships 
were able to fire on Beatty's column, but certainly the total 
German force within effective range could not have been ma- 
terially larger than the British force it was engaging. 

As far as can be figured out from Beatty's own report, the 
only time when he was actually pitted against a force superior to 
his own, within fighting range, was after he had lost the Inde- 
fatigable and the Queen Mary, and before the dreadnoughts of 
Admiral Thomas's force had reached a point from which they 
were able to open an effective fire. He entered the fight with six 
battle cruisers opposed to five. He then, for a short time, had 
four opposed to five. A little later he had four battle cruisers 
and four dreadnoughts opposed to five battle cruisers, and a little 
later still, as has just been stated, the forces actually opposed 
within firing range became practically equal. 

About six o'clock, having gained enough to admit of an at- 
tempt to "cap," Beatty turned his head to the eastward, but Von 
Hipper refused to accept this disadvantage and turned east him- 
self, thus continuing the parallel fight on a large curve tending 
more and more to the east (Plate IV) . It was about this time 
that the Lutzow, Von Hlpper's flagship and the leader of the 
German column, dropped out of the formation, having been so 
badly damaged that she could no longer maintain her position in 
the formation. Von Hipper, calling a destroyer alongside, 
boarded her and proceeded, through a storm of shell, to the 
Moltke, on which he resumed his place at the head of the fleet. 

Jellicoe, seventy miles to the northward with the main fight- 
ing force, received word about three o'clock that the scouting 
force was in contact with the enemy, and started at once to effect 
a junction with Beatty. He may well have wished at that mo- 
ment that his forces were separated somewhat less widely. 
Under his immediate command he had three squadrons of the 
latest and most powerful fighting ships in the world, twenty-five 
in all, including his own flagship, the Iron Duke. His squadrons 
were led by three of the youngest and most efficient vice admirals 
in the service. Sir Cecil Burney, Sir Thomas Jerram, and Sir 
Doveton Sturdee (Plate V) . With him also were Rear Admirals 



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THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND BANK 



79 



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Beatty turns eaot acroM »* 
Von Hipp«rs coura*. [ 



6.00 P. 



A Battle Cruidens 



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4:40 to 6:00 P.M. 



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V^n ScWer falls in 4 
ost«m o4 Von Hipp<»r ^ 



PLATE HI. 



Baitlesl^ip ft 
fleet. 



F— War St. 5 



80 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Hood and Arbuthnot, the former commanding three of the earliei 
battle cruisers, Invincible, Inflexible, and Indomitable, the latter 
commanding four armored cruisers, of which we shall hear more 
hereafter. 

A majority of the battleships were capable of a speed of 21 to 
22 knots, but it is improbable that the force, as a whole, could do 
better than 20 knots. Hood, with his "Invincibles,'* was capable 
of from 27 to 28 knots, and Jellicoe appears to have sent him on 
ahead to reenforce Beatty at the earliest possible moment, while 
following himself at a speed which, he says, strained the older 
ships of his force to the utmost. The formation of the fleet was 
probably somewhat like that shown at A, Plate V, which doubt- 
less passed into B before fighting range was reached. 

Of the southward sweep of this great armada, the most 
tremendous fighting force the world has ever seen on sea or 
land, we have no record. They started. They arrived. Of the 
hours that intervened no word has been said. Yet it is not 
difficult to picture something of the dramatic tenseness of the 
race. The admirals, their staffs, the captains of the individual 
ships, all were on the bridges, and there remained not only 
through the race to reach the battle area, but through all the 
fighting after they had closed with the enemy. The carefully 
worked-out plans for directing everything from the shelter of 
the conning tower were thrown aside without a thought. So 
there we see them, grouped in the most exposed positions on 
their ships, straining their eyes through the haze for the first 
glimpse of friend or foe, and urging those below, at the fires and 
the throttle, to squeeze out every fraction of a knot that boilers 
and turbines could be made to yield. 

Word must have been received by wireless of the loss of the 
Indefatigable and the Queen Mary, while the battleships were 
still fifty or sixty miles away, for Beatty at this time was run- 
ning south faster than Jellicoe could follow. It was perhaps at 
this time that Hood was dispatched at full speed to add his three 
battle cruisers to the four that remained to Beatty. They ar- 
rived upon the scene about 6.15 p. m., shortly after Beatty had 
turned eastward, and swung in ahead of Beatty's column, which, 



THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND BANK 



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82 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

as thus reenforced, consisted of seven battle cruisers and four 
dreadnoughts (Plate IV). Admiral Beatty writes in terms of 
enthusiastic admiration of the way in which Hood brought his 
ships into action, and it is easy to understand the thrill with 
which he must have welcomed this addition to his force. 

But his satisfaction was not of long duration. Hardly had the 
Invincible, Hood's flagship, settled down on her new course and 
opened fire than she disappeared in a great burst of smoke and 
flame. Here, as in the case of the Indefatigable and the Queen 
Mary, the appalling suddenness and completeness of the disaster 
makes it impossible of explanation. The survivors from all three 
of the ships totaled only about one hundred, and none of these 
are able to throw any light upon the matter. 

By this time Beatty*s whole column had completed the turn 
from north to east, and Jellicoe was in sight to the northward 
With his twenty-five dreadnoughts, coming on at twenty knots or 
more straight for the point where Beatty's column blocked his 
approach. Jellicoe writes of this situation : 

"Meanwhile, at 5.45 p. m., the report of guns had become 
audible to me, and at 5.55 p. m. flashes were visible from ahead 
around to the starboard beam, although in the mist no ships 
could be distinguished, and the position of the enemy's fleet could 
not be determined. 

". . . At this period, when the battle fleet was meeting the 
battle cruisers and the Fifth Battle Squadron, great care was 
necessary to ensure that our own ships were not mistaken for 
enemy vessels." 

Here is a bald description of a situation which must have been 
charged with almost overwhelming anxiety for the commander 
in chief. He knew that just ahead of him a tremendous battle 
was in progress, but of the disposition of the forces engaged he 
had only such knowledge as he could gather from the few frag- 
mentary wireless messages that Beatty had found time to flash 
to him. He could see but a short distance, and he knew that 
through the cloud of mingled fog and smoke into which he was 
rushing at top speed, all ships would look much alike. That he 
was able to bring his great force into action and into effective 



THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND BANK 



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84 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

cooperation with Beatty without accident or delay is evidence of 
high tactical skill on his part and on that of every officer under 
his command; and, what is even more creditable, of supremely 
efficient coordination of all parts of the tremendous machine 
which responded so harmoniously to his will. 

As Jellicoe's leading ships appeared through the fog, Beatty 
realized that he must make an opening in his column to let them 
through. Accordingly, he called upon his own fast battle 
cruisers for their highest speed and drew away to the eastward, 
at the same time signaling Admiral Evan-Thomas to reduce 
speed and drop back (Plate VI). The maneuver was perfectly 
conceived and perfectly timed. As Jellicoe approached he found 
Beatty's column opening before him. As he swept on through, 
steering south toward the head of the German line, Beatty also 
swung south on a course parallel and a little to the eastward, 
and, by virtue of his high speed, a little ahead. The result was 
that neither force blanketed the other for a moment, and the 
head of the German column a little later found itself under the 
concentrated fire of practically the whole British fleet. It may 
well have "crumpled" as Jellicoe says it did; and whether it is 
true or not, as British reports insist, that several of the leading 
ships were destroyed at this time, it appears to be true, at least, 
that a second battle cruiser dropped out, leaving only three of 
this type under Von Hipper's command. 

The situation quickly passed from that shown in Plate VI to 
that shown in Plate VII. The British had succeeded in estab- 
lishing a cap, and their position was so favorable that it looked 
as if nothing could save the Germans from destruction. But 
night was coming on, the mist was thickening into fog, and the 
only point of aim for either fleet was that afforded by the flash of 
the enemy's guns. Von Scheer, who, as Von Hipper's senior, 
was in command of the German forces as a whole, turned from 
east to west, each ship swinging independently, and sent his 
whole force of destroyers at top speed against the enemy. It 
would be difficult to imagine conditions more favorable for such 
an attack. Jellicoe saw the opportunity and acted upon it as 
quickly as did Von Scheer, with the result that as the German 



THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND BANK 



85 




I. 



86 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 



\ 






(25 Ships to this column) V 






^ Jellicoe 



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^^^German Fleet heading west and ^ 

^ sendinq out destroyers agdinet ^'^ Beattv 

th$ encirclina British Forces. «^ ^ ovQWy 



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160 miles to Hellqoland 



X' 



Jellicoe and Beatt> pass around f lanK of Gernnan Fleet, 
capping" it and interposing between the Fleet and its base. 

Both sides send owt destroyer attacks, whicV> continue throucjHout the night 

PLATE VII. 



THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND BANK 87 

destroyers swept toward the British fleet they met midway 
the British destroyers bent on a similar mission, and a battle 
followed in the fog between destroyers, which broke up both 
attacks against the main fleets and saved the capital ships on 
both sides from what must otherwise have been very serious 
danger. Meantime, as the German fleet drew off to the westward, 
Jellicoe and Beatty passed completely around the German flank 
and reached a position to the southward and between the Ger- 
man fleet and its base at Helgoland (Plate VHI). By the time 
this was accomplished it was nearly ten o'clock, and the long day 
of that high northern latitude was passing into darkness ren- 
dered darker by the fog. Contact between the main fleets had 
been lost, and firing had ceased. Both sides continued destroyer 
attacks through the night, and some of these were delivered with 
great dash and forced home with splendid determination. The 
British claim to have sunk at least two of the German capital 
ships during these attacks. But this the Germans deny. 

The Battle of Horn Reef, if that is to be its name, was at an 
end. The German fleet, now heading west, evidently soon after- 
ward headed south toward the secure waters of the Helgoland 
Bight, which it was allowed to reach without interference by the 
British main fleet and apparently without discovery. The British 
may well have been cautious during the night about venturing 
far into the fog, which, as they knew, if it concealed the capital 
ships of Von Hipper and Von Scheer, concealed also their de- 
stroyers, and possibly a stretch of water strewn with mines laid 
out by the retreating enemy. It must not be forgotten, however, 
that the British were between the German fleet and its base when 
they ceased the offensive for the night, and that only a few 
hours, in that high latitude, separate darkness from dawn. 

With daylight, which was due by two o'clock or thereabouts, 
and with the lifting of the fog, Jellicoe reports that he searched 
to the northward and found no enemy. The following day, 
June 2, 1916, his fleet was back in port taking account of its 
losses, which were undeniably great, though whether or not they 
were greater than those of the enemy, only the future can prove. 



88 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 



10:00 RM. 

Darkness and Fog 



Germans moving West, pcotectinq themselves 
and iittacking British vwilh destroyers ^^' 
and Uqht cruisers. ,^' 



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V 

^ Beatty ^ \ Q 

A '<• Q * 

P ^ A ^ 

^ Jellicoe Q ft V Q 

^ \ ^ 

^British Main Fleet 
^100 miles to Hehqoldnd) 



British Forces heading off to Southward to avoid atfack during 
darkness and to keep between German Fleet and its Base. 
Protectinq rear with Destroyers and Light CruiaervS. 

PLATE Vffl 



SOME SECONDARY FEATURES 89 

CHAPTER XII 

SOME SECONDARY FEATURES OP THE 
BATTLE 

ONE of the most inexplicable incidents of the day occurred as 
Jellicoe's fleet approached the battle area and shortly before 
the leading ship of his column passed through the opening in 
Beatty's column as already described. The four armored cruisers, 
Duke of Edinburgh, Defence, Warrior, and Black Prince, under 
Rear Admiral Arbuthnot, were in company with Jellicoe, but 
separated from his main force by several miles. Tliese ships 
were lightly armed and very lightly armored, and had absolutely 
no excuse for taking part in the main battle. Yet they now 
appeared, somewhat in advance of the main fleet and to the west- 
ward of it, standing down ahead of Evan-Thomas's division of 
battleships, which, as has been explained, had dropped back to 
allow Jellicoe to pass ahead of them. As Arbuthnot appeared 
from the mist, several German ships opened on him at short 
range, and within a very few moments three of his four ships 
were destroyed. The Defence and Black Prince were sunk im- 
mediately. The Warrior was so badly damaged that she sank 
during the night while trying to make port. The Duke of Edin- 
burgh escaped. 

Another incident belonging to this phase of the battle was 
the jamming of the steering gear of the War spite, of Admiral 
Evan-Thomas's division of dreadnoughts. Apparently the helm 
jammed when in the hard-over position, and the ship for some 
time ran around in a circle. Through the whole of this time she 
was under heavy fire, and is reported to have been struck more 
than one hundred times by heavy shells, in spite of which she 
later returned to her position in column and continued the fighti 
In the course of her erratic maneuvers, while not under control, 
she circled around the Warrior and received so much of the fire 
intended for that ship as to justify the belief that her accident 
saved the Warrior from immediate destruction and made it pos- 



90 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

sible, later, to rescue her crew before she finally sank, as she did 
during the night following the battle. It was for a time believed 
that the Warspite had deliberately intervened to save the War- 
rior, and there was much talk of the "chivalry'* of the Warspite^s 
commander in thus risking his own ship to save another — ^this 
from those who overlooked the fact that the duty of the Warspite, 
as one of the most valuable fighting units of the fleet, was to keep 
place in line as long as possible, and to carry out the general 
battle plan ; which, of course, is exactly what the Warspite did 
to the best of her ability. 

It is an interesting fact that of the small number of capital 
ships lost or disabled, four were flagships. Two rear admirals, 
Hood and Arbuthnot, went down with their ships. Two vice 
admirals. Von Hipper and Bumey, shifted their flags in the 
thickest of the fight. Von Hipper from the Liltzow to the Moltke, 
Bumey from the Marlborough to the Revenge. 

A large part of Admiral Jellicoe's official report deals with the 
work of the light cruisers and destroyers, which, while neces- 
sarily restricted to a secondary role, contributed in many ways 
to the operations of the main fighting forces, securing and trans- 
mitting information, attacking at critical times, and repelling 
attacks from the corresponding craft of the enemy. All of these 
tasks took on a special importance as the afternoon advanced, 
because of the decreasing visibility due to fog and darkness. 
The light cruisers were constantly employed in keeping touch 
with the enemy, whose capital ships they approached at times to 
within two or three thousand yards. And the destroyers of both 
fleets were repeatedly sent at full speed through banks of fog 
within which the enemy battleships were known to be concealed. 
It is rather remarkable that so few of either type were lost, and 
still more remarkable, so far as the destroyers are concerned, 
that so few of the large ships were torpedoed. 

The Marlborough was struck and badly damaged, but she 
made her way safely to port. The Frauenlob, Rostock, and Pom- 
mem were sunk. And that is the whole story so far as known 
at present. Yet several hundred torpedoes must have been dis- 
charged, most of them at ranges within 5,000 yards. It looks a 



SOME SECONDARY FEATURES 91 

little as if the world would be obliged to modify the view that has 
been held of late with reference to the efficiency of the torpedo — 
or at least of the torpedo as carried by the destroyer. 

The loss of the three large battle cruisers, Indefatigable, Irv- 
vincible, and Queen Mary is, and will always remain, the most 
dramatic incident of the battle, and the most inexplicable. It is 
doubtful if we shall ever know the facts, but that something 
more than gunfire was involved is made clear by the fact that in 
each case the ship was destroyed by an explosion. Whether this 
was due to a shell actually penetrating the magazine, or to the 
ignition of exposed charges of powder, or to a torpedo or a mine 
exploding outside in the vicinity of the magazine, it is impossible 
to do more than conjecture. There is a suggestion of something 
known, but kept back, in the following paragraph from a de- 
scription of the battle by Mr. Arthur Pollen, which is presumably 
based upon information furnished by the British admiralty: 

"As to the true explanation of the loss of the three ships that 
did blow up, the admiralty, no doubt, will give this to the public 
if it is thought wise to do so. But there can be no harm in 
saying this. The explanation of the sinking of each of these 
ships by a single lucky shot — both they and practically all the 
other cruisers were hit repeatedly by shots that did no harm — 
is, in the first place, identical. Next, it does not lie in the fact 
that the ships were insufficiently armored to keep out big shell. 
Next, the fatal explosion was not caused by a mine or by a 
torpedo. Lastly, it is in no sense due to any instability or any 
other dangerous characteristic of the propellants or explosives 
carried on board. I am free to confess that when I first heard 
of these ships going down as rapidly as they did, one of two 
conclusions seemed to be irresistible — either a shell had pene- 
trated the lightly armored sides and burst in the magazine, or 
a mine or torpedo had exploded immediately beneath it. But 
neither explanation is right." 

One of the most striking and surprising features about the 
battle is the closeness with which it followed conventional lines, 
both in the types of vessels and weapons used and in the manner 
of using them. Neither submarines nor Zeppelins played any^ 



92 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

part, although both were at hand. Some effective scouting was 
done by an aeroplane sent up from one of the British cruisers 
early in the afternoon, and the British report that they saw and 
fired on a Zeppelin early in the morning of June 1, 1916. But 
this is all. 

There have been stories for many months of a 17-inch gun of 
marvelous power carried by German dreadnoughts, but no such 
weapon made its appearance on this occasion. 

And the tactics employed on both sides were as conventional as 
the weapons used. The fight was a running fight in parallel 
columns from the moment when Beatty and Von Hipper turned 
simultaneously toward the south upon their first contact with 
each other, until night and fog separated them at the end. 
Beatty's constant effort to secure a "cap" contained no element 
of novelty, and Von Hipper's reply, refusing the cap by turning 
his head away and swinging slowly on a parallel interior curve, 
was the conventional, as it was the proper, reply. Unfortunately, 
as we shall presently have occasion to note, the German fleet ulti- 
mately allowed itself to be capped, with results which ought to 
have been far more disastrous than they actually were. The de- 
stroyers availed themselves of the opportunities for attack pre- 
sented from time to time by smoke and fog, and their drive was 
stopped by opposing destroyers. 

So little is known of the German injuries that there is hardly 
sufficient ground for comment on the British marksmanship, but 
it does not appear to have been what the world had expected. 
Exactly the reverse is true of the German marksmanship, espe- 
cially at long ranges. It was surprisingly good, and the most 
surprising thing about it was the promptness with which it 
found the target. The Indefatigable was blown up ten minutes 
after she came under fire. Hood, in the Invincible, had barely 
gained his place in line ahead of Beatty's column when the ship 
was smothered by a perfect avalanche of shells. If it is true 
that the Germans had the best of the fight so far as material 
damage is concerned, the explanation must be sought in their 
unexpectedly excellent marksmanship, with, perhaps, some 
sinister factor added, either of weakness in the British ships or 



SOME SECONDARY FEATURES 93 

of amazing power in the German shells, yet to be made known. 
It should be noted that the sinking of the Indefatigable and 
the Queen Mary belongs to a phase of battle in which Beatty had 
a distinct advantage of force, his six battle cruisers being op- 
posed to live. 

While the torpedo, as has been said, played no important part 
in the action, the destroyers on both sides appear to have been 
active and enterprising, and if they accomplished little in a 
material way, the threat involved in their presence and their 
activity had an important moral effect at several critical stages 
of the battle. When Jellicoe decided not to force his offensive 
during the night he was no doubt influenced in a large degree by 
the menace of the German destroyers. 

Destroyers, too, contributed indirectly to the loss of Arbuth- 
not's armored cruisers. When Jellicoe's fleet was seen approach- 
ing, ''appearing shadowlike from the haze bank to the north- 
east,*' the German destroyers were thrown against them, and it 
was apparently to meet and check this threat that Rear Admiral 
Arbuthnot pushed forward with his armored cruisers into the 
area between the two main battle lines. It may be that he could 
not see what lay behind the thrust he sought to parry. Both the 
British and the German stories of the battle assume that he was 
surprised. But whether this is true or not, the fact is that it 
was in seeking to shield the battleships from a destroyer attack 
that he came under fire of the main German force and lost 
three of his ships almost immediately ; for the Warrior, although 
she remained afloat for several hours, was doomed from the first. 



94 THE STORY OF THE GREAT VMR 

CHAPTER XIII 

LOSSES AND TACTICS 

THE British losses as reported officially, and no doubt truth- 
fully, are as follows: 

Officers and \ 

Battle Cruisers : Tonnage Men 

Queen Mary 27,500 1,000 

Invincible o 17,250 790 

Indefatigable 18,750 780 

Armored Cruisers: 

Defence 14,600 850 

Black Prince 13,500 750 

Warrior 13,500 750 

Destroyers : 

Tipperary 1,850 160 

Turbulent 980 100 

Fortune 950 100 

Sparrowhawk 935 100 

Ardent 950 100 

Nestor 950 100 

Nomad 950 100 

Shark 950 100 

The reported German losses are as follows. The actual losses 
may be much greater : 

Officers and 

Battle Cruiser: Tonnage Men 

Liitzow 28,000 1,150 

Battleship : 
Pommern 13,040 736 



LOSSES AND TACTICS 95 

Officers and 
LIGHT Cruisers: Tonnage Men 

Wiesbaden 

Frauenlob 2,657 281 

Elhing 

Rostock 4,820 373 

Destroyers : 
Five 



• • • 



Total Tonnage Lost 

British 117,150 

German 60,720 (acknowledged) 

Total Personnel Lost 

British 6,105 

German 2,414 (acknowledged) 

When the losses above given are analyzed they are found to 
be much less favorable to the German side than they appear to be 
on the surface. To begin with, we may eliminate the three 
armored cruisers on the British side as of no military value 
whatever. This reduces the effective tonnage lost on the British 
side by more than 40,000 tons. 

The Queen Mary and the Liitzow offset each other. 

If we accept the German claim that the Pommern, which was 
lost, was actually the old predreadnought of that name, it is fair 
to say that she offsets the Invincible, There is, however, very 
good reason for believing that she was a new and very powerful 
dreadnought. If this is the case, her loss easily offsets that of 
both the Invincible and the Indefatigable, Accepting the Ger- 
man statement, however, as we have done at all other points, we 
may say that so far as effective capital ships are concerned, the 
British lost one more than the Germans. This, after all, is not a 
very great difference, and it is to a large extent offset by the 
loss of four light cruisers which the German admiralty admit. 
In destroyers the advantage is with the Germans. 

With regard to the armored cruisers already referred to, it is 
interesting to note the fact that these three ships were practically 

G— War St. 5 



96 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

presented to the Germans, thus paralleling the fate of their 
sister ships, the Cressy, Hogue, and Aboukir, which, as will be 
remembered, were destroyed by a submarine in September, 1914, 
under conditions of inexplicable carelessness. The military loss 
represented by all six of these ships was small (disregarding 
the loss of personnel), but they all selected a fate which was so 
timed, and in its character so spectacular, as to contribute 
enormously to the lessening of the prestige with which the 
British navy had entered upon the war. 

As bearing still further upon the comparative losses of the 
battle, account must be taken of ships seriously injured. Of 
these, reports from sources apparently unprejudiced insist that 
the German fleet has a large number and that the number in- 
cludes several of the most powerful ships that took part in the 
battle. It is known that the Seydlitz, one of the latest and largest 
of the German battle cruisers, was so badly damaged that it will 
be many months before she can take the sea again. There are 
stories of two other large ships which reached port in such a 
condition that it was necessary to dock them at once to keep them 
from sinking. Contrasted with this is the fact that the British 
ships which reached port were but little injured. This gives an 
air of probability to the story that the German fire tactics pro- 
vided for concentrating the fire of several of their ships on some 
one ship of the enemy's line until she was destroyed. This would 
explain the otherwise inexplicable fact that, while the Indefat- 
igable and the Queen Mary were being overwhelmed, the ships 
ahead and astern of them were hardly struck at all. 

It may well be that the total damage done the German ships 
by the steady pounding of the whole line vastly exceeds the 
total received by the British ships. Something will be known on 
this subject when it becomes clear that the Germans are, or are 
not, ready to take the sea again. If their losses and their in- 
juries were as unimportant as they would have the world believe, 
if their victory was as great as they claim that it was, they should 
be ready at an early date to challenge the British again, this 
time with a fleet practically intact as to ships, and with a per- 
sonnel fired with enthusiastic confidence in its own superiority. 



LOSSES AND TACTICS 97 

If, instead of this, they resume the attitude of evasion which 
they have maintained so long, the inference will be plain that 
they have not given the world the truth with regard to what the 
battle of May 31, 1916, meant to them. 

A significant fact in this connection is that, regardless of what 
others may say on the subject, the officers and men of the British 
navy are convinced that the victory was with them, and are 
eager for another chance at the enemy, which they fully believe 
they would have destroyed if night and fog had not intervened 
to stay their hand. 

The net result of the battle as seen by the world, after careful 
appraisement of the claims and counterclaims on both sides, is 
that England retains the full command of the sea, with every 
prospect of retaining it indefinitely, but that the British navy 
has, for the moment, lost something of the prestige which it has 
enjoyed since the days of Nelson and Jervis. There is nothing 
to support the belief that the control of the North Sea or of any 
other sea has passed, or by any conceivable combination of cir- 
cumstances can pass, into the hands of Germany during the 
present war, or as a result of the war. 

All accounts of the battle by those who participated in it rep- 
resent the weather as capricious. The afternoon came in with 
a smooth sea, a light wind, and a clear, though somewhat hazy, 
atmosphere. The smoke of the German ships was made out at a 
distance which must have been close to twenty miles, and the 
range-finding as Beatty and Von Hipper closed must have been 
almost perfect, as is proved by the promptness with which the 
Germans began making hits on the Queen Mary and the Inde- 
fatigable. But this did not continue long. Little wisps of fog 
began to gather here and there, drifting about, rising from time 
to time and then settling down and gathering in clouds that at 
times cut off the view even close at hand. 

As the sun dropped toward the horizon it lighted up the 
western sky with a glow against which the British ships were 
clearly outlined, forming a perfect target, while the dark-colored 
German ships to the eastward were projected against a back- 
ground of fog as gray as themselves. It is interesting to recall 



98 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

the fact that these are exactly the conditions which existed when 
the British and German squadrons in the Pacific met off Coronel. 
In that case, as in the present one, the British fleet was to the 
westward, clearly silhouetted against the twilight sky. And the 
fate of the Indefatigable and the Queen Mary was not more 
sudden or more tragic than that of the Good Hope and the 
Monmouth. It may be that the unfavorable conditions were a 
matter of luck in both cases. But it may be also that the Ger- 
mans chose the time of day for fighting in each case to accord 
with the position which they expected to occupy. 

The British complain much of their bad luck, but there are 
well-recognized advantages of position with regard to light and 
wind and sea, and the Germans seem to have the luck, if luck it 
be, to find these advantages habitually on their side. 

The British call it luck that both in the battle off Horn Reef 
and that off Dogger Bank the Germans escaped destruction 
through the coming on of night. But how would this claim look 
if it were shown that the Germans timed their movements with 
direct regard for this — allowing themselves time for a decided 
thrust, to be followed by withdrawal under cover of night before 
they could be brought to a final reckoning? A careful study of 
the operations of the present war shows, on both sea and land, a 
painstaking attention on the German side to every detail, how- 
ever small ; and instances are not rare in which they have bene- 
fited from this in ways which could hardly have been anticipated. 

TACTICS 

There has been much discussion of the tactics of the battle. 
And critics, not in foreign countries alone, but in England, have 
pointed out errors of Beatty and Jellicoe, while many more have 
come to their defense and shown conclusively that everything 
done was wisely done, and that the escape of the German fleet 
and the losses by the British fleet were due not to bad manage- 
ment but to bad luck. 

The first point selected for criticism by those who venture to 
criticize is the initial separation of Beatty's force from Jellicoe's 



LOSSES AND TACTICS 99 

by from sixty to seventy miles. This certainly proved unfortu- 
nate, and if it was deliberately planned it is undoubtedly open to 
criticism. A reference, however, to the letter which Mr. Balfour 
addressed to the mayors of Yarmouth and Lowestoft on May 8, 
1916, suggests an explanation which makes the separation of 
the two forces seem a reasonable one. Mr. Balfour states, for 
the reassurance of the mayors and their people, that a policy is 
to be adopted of keeping a force of fast and powerful ships in 
certain ports near the English Channel, where they will be ready 
to sally forth at short notice to run down any force which may 
venture to cross the North Sea, whether for raiding or for any 
other purpose. This foreshadows the assignment of a force of 
battle cruisers to the south of England, and it is altogether prob- 
able that Beatty, instead of having been detached by Jellicoe for 
operations to the southward, had, in fact, gone out directly from 
the mouth of the Thames to sweep northward toward a junction 
with the main fleet. This view of the matter is confirmed by the 
opening sentence of Beatty's official report to Jellicoe : 

"I have the honor to report that at 2.37 p. m. on 31st May, 1916, 
I was cruising and steering to the northward to join your flag." 

Another point which has been criticized is the action of Beatty 
in turning south instead of north when he first found himself in 
touch with Von Hipper. 

It is not clear from the evidence at hand whether he followed 
Von Hipper in this move or whether Von Hipper followed him. 
If Von Hipper headed south, Beatty could not well refuse to fol- 
low him. Beatty was there to fight if there was a chance to fight, 
and there is no question that in heading south, whether he was 
following Von Hipper's lead or taking the lead himself, he took 
the one course which made the existing chance a certainty. 

From this point of view he was right. From another point of 
view he was wrong, for he was running at full speed directly 
away from his own supports and directly toward those of his 
opponent. He thought, and Jelhcoe appears to have thought, 
that the Germans did not wish to fight. But when Beatty finally 
turned north, both Von Hipper and Von Scheer followed readily 
enough, although they must have known pretty accurately what 



100 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

lay ahead of them. Beatty's error, then, if error it was, seemg 
to have been not so much in judging the tactical situation as in 
judging the spirit of his opponent. 

Very severe criticism has been directed against Beatty for 
fighting at comparatively short ranges — 9,000 to 14,000 yards — 
when he had a sufficient excess of speed to choose his distance. 
This is hardly a fair criticism of the early stages of the battle, as 
he was then opposed to ships of the same type as his own, so that 
if he was accepting a disadvantage for himself, he was forcing 
the same disadvantage upon his opponent. And after all, 14,000 
yards is not a short range, though it is certainly much shorter 
to-day than it would have been ten years ago. 

When, in the later stages of the battle, he was opposed to 
dreadnoughts, it would perhaps have been wiser to maintain a 
range of from 18,000 to 20,000 yards, but the situation was com- 
plicated by the necessity of holding the enemy and leading him 
to the northward, and it is not possible to say with any confidence 
that he could have done this if he had held off at a distance as 
great as prudence might have suggested. Circumstances placed 
him in a position where it seemed to him desirable to forget the 
distinction between his ships and battleships, and this is exactly 
what he did. 

Broadly speaking, it must be said that Beatty^s course through- 
out the day was, to quote the favorite expression of British 
writers on naval matters, "in keeping with the best traditions of 
the service." And while it was bold and dashing, it was entirely 
free from the rashness which the British public has been a little 
inclined to attribute to him since the Dogger Bank engagement. 

The only further criticism of the conduct of the battle is that 
which insists that the German fleet should not have been allowed 
to escape. And here it is difficult to find an explanation which is 
at the same time an excuse. Of the situation at 9 p. m. Admiral 
Jellicoe writes that he had maneuvered into a very advantageous 
position, in which his fleet was interposed betiveen the German 
fleet and the German base. He then goes on to say that the 
threat of destroyer attack during the rapidly approaching dark- 
ness made it necessary to dispose the fleet with a view to its 



LOSSES AND TACTICS 101 

safety, while providing for a renewal of the action at daylight. 
Accordingly, he "maneuvered so as to remain between the Ger- 
mans and their base, placing flotillas of destroyers where they 
(jould protect the fleet and attack the heavy German ships." 

Admiral Beatty reported that he did not consider it desirable 
or proper to engage the German battle fleet during the dark 
hours, as the strategical position made it appear certain he could 
locate them at daylight under most favorable circumstances. 

Here, then, is the situation between nine and ten o'clock at 
night, when the approach of darkness made it seem desirable to 
call a halt for the night — ^a huge fleet, of more than thirty capital 
ships, was interposed between the Germans and their base. The 
general position of the Germans was known, and destroyers, of 
which the British had at least seventy-five available, were so 
disposed as to keep in touch with the Germans and attack them 
during the night. The German fleet was slower than the British 
fleet by several knots, and if the statements by Jellicoe and 
Beatty of the damage done are even approximately true, Von 
Hipper and Von Scheer must have been embarrassed by the 
necessity of caring for a large number of badly crippled ships. 
The night is short in that high latitude — not over five hours 
at the maximum. 

And this is the report of what happened at daylight: 

"At daylight on the first of June the battle fleet, being south- 
ward of Horn Reef, turned northward in search of the enemy 
vessels, and for the purpose of collecting our own cruisers and 
torpedo-boat destroyers. The visibility early on the first of 
June was three to four miles less than on May 31, and the torpedo- 
boat destroyers, being out of visual touch, did not rejoin the fleet 
until 9 a. m. The British fleet remained in the proximity of the 
battle field and near the line of approach to German ports until 
11 a. m., in spite of the disadvantages of long distances from 
fleet bases and the danger incurred in waters adjacent to the 
enemy's coasts from submarines and torpedo craft. 

"The enemy, however, made no sign, and I was reluctantly 
compelled to the conclusion that the High Sea Fleet had returned 
into port. Subsequent events proved this assumption to have 



102 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

been correct. Our position must have been known to the enemy, 
as, at 4 a. m., the fleet engaged a Zeppelin about Ave minutes, 
during which time she had ample opportunity to note and subse- 
quently report the position and course of the British fleet." 

Here is the mystery of the Battle of Horn Reef, and here we 
may place our finger on the point at which the explanation liea 
(if we could only make out what the explanation is) of the rea- 
son why this battle cannot take rank, either in its conduct or i» 
its results, with the greatest naval battles of history — with Tra* 
falgar and the Nile, to speak only of English history. At is an 
unfinished battle ; inconclusive, indecisive. And in this respect it 
cannot be changed by later news of greater losses than are noW 
known. When Jellicoe, with a force materially superior to that 
commanded by Von Scheer and with higher speed, had inter- 
posed between the latter and his base, it would seem that there 
should have been no escape for the German fleet from absolute 
destruction. It should have been "played'' during the night, and 
either held or driven northward. How it could work around the 
flank of the British fleet and be out of sight at dawn is impossible 
of comprehension even when we have made due allowance for low 
visibility. And its disappearance was complete. The only Ger- 
man force that was seen was a lone Zeppelin, which was engaged 
for five minutes. The mystery is increased by Jellicoe's state- 
ment that at daylight he "turned northward in search of the 
enemy's vessels." 

His story ends with something in the nature of a reproach for 
the Germans because they did not return, although "our position 
must have been known to them." 

Let us consider what the situation actually was at daylight. 
The German fleet, as a whole, had a maximum speed of perhaps 
18 knots when fresh from port, and with every ship in perfect 
condition. According to the English account it had suffered very 
severely, many of its units being badly crippled. It is incon' 
ceivable that it was in a condition when Jellicoe lost touch with 
it at ten oclock at night to make anything like its maximum 
speed without deserting these cripples. Let us suppose, how- 
ever, that it could and did make 18 knots in some direction be- 



LOSSES AND TACTICS 



103 



Qrand Fleet a 6 P.M. 



Von Hipper ai beginning of BatUe — ►/d 



Beatiy b\ b«><^innlng of BatUe->d 

/ ! 

y ^German f l«<»M 
^ovinq to 3oulhtiwil 
nd Wntvtard in s«fln| 



Known poaiVion of German Fleet 
at 10 PM. May 31st ^ 



^- 



y4ndW( 
. ' pvtrf this aroa 
10 PM. May 3 lit. to 
daylifjM Jun«« Ut 
__ b hours at 
is Z' 12 knots 




Gcrman- 
F»pe1 



within ~TZ. 
Ihis 




NORTH 



littlp Fl5h«^ 
Bank 



Hantsholm 



&riti«h Fleet to Southward 
10 P. M.May 3 1 3t 



JUTLAND 
BANK 



at doy\(<jht - 
:_ June I at 7::: 



6 houra 
•t 18 knots 






XiCM's Horn R««f4 



<4'*- 



--V-* B*atty's 



iW,..r=;, 



'%%. 

vX 



Movement of Forces 
10 P. M. May Slst to 4 A.M. June 1st. 



V 



Track of British BattW Fleot 



\. 



" " " Cruisers 

•• Enemy's Ships ,. ,^^, »,,,...,•, .J-,. 

NOTE '■ British movements are from JeHtcoe's otficiat Feport 
from. 3:30 P.M. May 3l5l. to Dayli<)ht. June 1st, 
German movements are irom best information obtain^le. 
up to 10 P.M. May 3l3t..and probable movements to 

Dd^\i9ht. 



Sylt 



Probable Mioe 

and 

Submarine Area 






Heligoland 



PLATE IX 




c:^ 




104 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

tween 10 p. m. and 4 a. m. It would run in that time 108 miles. 
If, therefore, we draw a circle around the point at which it was 
known to have been at ten o'clock, with 108 miles as a radius, we 
shall have a circle beyond which it cannot have passed at 4 a. m. 
(Plate IX). 

If we assume a lower limit for its speed, say 12 knots, we may 
draw another circle with 72 miles as a radius, and say that in all 
probability the fleet has passed beyond this circle, in some direc- 
tion, by 4 a. m. We have now narrowed the space within which 
the German fleet may be at 4 a. m. of June 1, 1916, to the narrow 
area between our two circles. 

But we know that the fleet, if it is in reality badly crippled, 
will be under the necessity of making its way back to a base at 
once, and that the detour which it makes to avoid the British 
fleet will accordingly be as slight as possible. It certainly will 
not attempt to reach Helgoland by running north or east. It 
will doubtless start off toward the west or southwest and swing 
around to the south and southeast as soon as Von Scheer feels 
confident of having cleared the western flank of the British fleet. 
We may then draw two bounding lines from the point which the 
Germans are known to have occupied at ten o^clock, and feel 
reasonably sure that four o'clock will find them between these 
lines. In other words, Jellicoe knew with almost mathematical 
certainty that at four o'clock on the morning of June 1, 1916, the 
German fleet was within the area A, B, C, D, Plate IX. His own 
more powerful fleet was at E and F, still between the Germans 
and their base, with an excess of speed of at least three knots, 
and probably much more than this. He searched to the north, 
and not finding them there, "was reluctantly compelled to the 
conclusion that the High Sea Fleet had returned into port." He 
accordingly returned to port himself. 



THE GERMAN TACTICS 

If it is true that the British blundered in allowing the Germans 
to escape from a trap from which escape should have been im- 
possible, it is equally true that the Germans blundered in allow- 



LOSSES AND TACTICS 



105 



' German 
/^ Batt le 



roop.M^ 



/3.3OP.M. 
/ 
/ 
• 

.-''^ British 
Battle Cruisers 

Beertty 



x ' 






.0* 
..•815 PM 



1^ \ 
\ N 
\ \ 

Approximate Track of British Battle Fleet .— \ \^q:Q0P.M 

« !• •< II 11 Cruisers — ^-^C^ 

•• « " Enemy Ships / 



9:00Rrt^O 




^ermarv'i 
Battle 
Fleet 
Vori Scheer 



9:24 PM. 



Movements of Jellicoes Forces-3:30 P.M. to 9:30 RM. I1a>3lst. 

(as shown in Jellicoe's Official Report) ■ 
Note: The movements of the German Forces here shown correspond nearly, 
but not exactly, with the Information on which plates3ZL and "SII are based. 



PLATE X. 



106 



THE STORY OP THE GREAT WAR 



«=> c=> cz> c=> 



•C=>c^^ 



Jeilicoe 



^ 



^£van-ThomA« 



\ 



Beatty Q 



^ If VonScheer had refused 

his f look, as here indicated, 

the cap would have been 

avoided, and the parallel f ight 

would have been continued with 

the whole German fleet- opposed 

to Beatty's six battle cruisers. 

The British battleships would not 
have reached fighting range be- 
fore dark, and could not have 
interposed between the Germans 
QY\cX their base. 



I 
% 

I 



\ 



To Heligoland 
160 Miles 



What Von Scheer Should Have Done 

When British Battleship Fleet was Sighted 



NOTE: Compare this with 
Plates 301 and 5111. 



PLATE XL 



LOSSES AND TACTICS 107 

ing themselves to be caught in such a trap. In the early part of 
the battle the German tactics were all that they should have been.: 
In turning south, when Beatty's force was sighted, Von Hipper 
was right from every point of view, for he was closing with 
Von Scheer while drawing Beatty away from Jellicoe. He was 
equally sound a little later when he turned north, for he did not 
turn until he had been joined by Von Scheer. He was still sound 
when at six o'clock he turned east, refusing to be capped, for 
there was as yet no threat of any important increase in the force 
to which he was opposed. His mistake — or that of his superior, 
Von Scheer — came when the British battleships were sighted to 
the northeastward, heading down across his course. He knew, oir 
should have known, that he was now opposed by a force over- 
whelmingly superior to his own and with considerably higher 
speed ; and yet he not only did not attempt to withdraw, but held 
his course and allowed himself to be capped, thus deliberately 
accepting battle with a greatly superior force and with conditions 
the most unfavorable that could have been devised. That he suf- 
fered much at this point, as he undoubtedly did, was the result 
of his own bad tactics. That he suffered less than he deserved 
was the result of the equally bad tactics on the part of his op- 
ponent. 

As soon as the British battleships were seen approaching the 
German fleet should have turned south and proceeded at full 
speed (Plate X), not necessarily with intent to refuse battle per- 
manently. But with intent to refuse it until conditions could be 
made more favorable than they were at this time. There would 
have been no difficulty about reproducing on a larger scale the 
parallel fight which had marked the earlier phases of the battle ; 
and with night coming on and the weather thickening, this would 
have reduced the British advantage to a minimum. This plan 
would, moreover, have led the British straight toward the mine 
and submarine area of the Helgoland Bight; or, if they refused 
to be so led, would have made it necessary for them to abandon 
the fight. 

It is true, of course, that they did abandon the fight in spite 
of the great advantage which the German tactics gave them, 



108 JHE STORY OP THE GREAT WAR 

but it is equally true that the German admiral had no reason 
to hope for anything so amazingly fortunate for his reputation 
as a tactician. 



CHAPTER XIT 



DEATH OP LORD KITCHENER — OTHER 
EVENTS OP THE SECOND YEAR 

THE night of June 7, 1916, a storm raged along the Scottish 
shore. There was wind, rain, and high seas. Toward dusk a 
British cruiser approached a point on the extreme northerly end 
of the coast and took aboard Earl Kitchener, Secretary of State 
for War, and his staff. Among those with him were Lieutenant 
Colonel Oswald Arthur Fitzgerald, his military secretary ; Brig- 
adier General Arthur Ellershaw, one of the war secretary's ad- 
visers; Sir Hay Frederick Donaldson, munitions expert, and 
Hugh James O'Beime, former counselor at the British embassy 
in Petrograd and for some time secretary of the embassy in 
.Washington. 

The cruiser, which was the Hampshire, of an old class, put 
to sea and headed for Archangel, whence Lord Kitchener was to 
travel to Petrograd for a war council with the czar and his gen- 
erals. About eight o'clock, only an hour after the party em- 
barked, a mine or torpedo struck the Hampshire when she was 
two miles from land between Merwick Head and Borough Brisay, 
west of the Orkney Islands. It is supposed that the cruiser's 
magazine blew up. Persons on shore saw a fire break out amid- 
ships, and many craft went to her assistance, although a north- 
west gale was blowing and the sea was rough. 

Four boats got away from the Hampshire ^ all of which were 
swamped. According to one report Lord Kitchener and his staff 
were lost after leaving the cruiser, but a survivor said that he 
was last seen on the bridge with Captain Herbert J. Savill, her 
commander. According to this man Kitchener had on a rain- 
coat and held a walking stick in his hand. He said that the two 



DEATH OF LORD KITCHENER 109 

men calmly watched preparations for departure and saw at least 
two lifeboats smashed against the ship's side. 

Twenty minutes after being torpedoed the Hampshire sank, 
with a loss of 300 lives. 

On July 9, 1916, two days after the Hampshire went down, 
eleven men of the cruiser reached the Orkneys, after forty-eight 
hours buffeting by the waves upon a raft. The body of Colonel 
Fitzgerald was washed ashore the same day of the sinking, but 
the sea did not give up Kitchener or any of the other members 
of his staff. 

The Italian admiralty made known June 9, 1916, that the 
transport Principe Umberto had fallen victim to a submarine in 
the Adriatic with a large loss of life. Estimates of the dead ran 
from 400 to 500. 

King George and Queen Mary attended a memorial service at 
St. Paul's in honor of Kitchener on June 13, 1916, when many of 
the most prominent officials and citizens of the realm were pres- 
ent. They had a large military escort to and from the cathedral 
in respect to the dead war minister. Other services were held at 
Canterbury and in many cities through the kingdom. 

On the night of June 18, 1916, a squadron of Russian sub- 
marines, destroyers and torpedo boats surprised a German con- 
voy of merchant vessels at a point southeast of Stockholm and 
not far from Swedish waters. Owing to the heavy losses of 
German shipping in the Baltic practically all Teuton ships in that 
sea traveled under escort only, and there was a dozen or more 
vessels in the convoy. An engagement took place lasting forty- 
five minutes, during which the Russians sank the auxiliary 
cruiser Herzmann, capturing her crew and two other craft, one 
of which was believed to have been a destroyer. In the confusion 
all of the merchant ships reached the Swedish coast and other de- 
stroyers and armed trawlers accompanying them made good their 
escape. Berlin admitted the loss, adding that the Herzmann's 
commander and most of her crew were saved. 

During the night of June 16, 1916, the British destroyer Eden 
collided with the transport France in the English Channel and 
sank. Thirty-one men and officers escaped. 



110 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

The German submarine U-35, commanded by Lieutenant von 
Arnauld, put into Cartagena, Spain, June 21, 1916, after a 1,500 
mile run from Pola with a personal letter to King Alfonso, signed 
by Kaiser Wilhelm. The missive bore thanks for the treatment 
of German refugees from the Kameruns who had been interned 
in Spain, and the submarine also brought hospital supplies for the 
fugitives. Its arrival made a strong impression on the Spanish 
public and was taken as a new sign of Germany's power. No 
such trip ever had been made before for such a purpose. It was 
a precedent in the communication of kings. 

The British steamship Brussels, carrying freight and a number 
of passengers, most of whom were Belgian refugees bound from 
Rotterdam to Tillbury, a London suburb, was captured in the 
channel by German destroyers and taken to Zeebrugge, Belgium 
on the night of June 23, 1916. The incident proved that German 
warcraft were again far afield. It was said that the capture had 
been made by means of previous information as to the time of 
the Brussels sailing and with the aid of a spy. Her course lay 
about forty miles north of Zeebrugge, and a suspected passenger 
was seen to wave a lantern several times before the destroyers 
came up. 

Captain Fryatt attempted to ram the nearest vessel and 
escape, but the effort failed and he was arrested and charged 
with piracy. Germany had announced early in the war that she 
would consider any merchant captain who made a hostile move, 
even in defense of his vessel, as a f ranc-tireur. 

Loss of the Italian auxiliary cruiser Citta di Messina, 3,495 
tons, and the French destroyer Fourche was announced by Paris 
June 25, 1916. The Messina was carrying troops across the 
Strait of Otranto when a submarine torpedoed her. The Fourche, 
serving as a convoy, gave pursuit without result, then turned 
back to save such survivors as she could. Within a few minutes 
she was struck by a second torpedo and sunk. All on board the 
two vessels, probably 300 men, were drowned. 

The Austrians lost two transports in the harbor of Durazzo, 
June 26, 1916, when Italian submarines succeeded in passing the 
forts and inflicting a heavy blow. Both ships had troops, arms 




Earl Kitchener 



iiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiti Ill mil iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii,= 



DEATH OF LORD KITCHENER 111 

and ammunition aboard, according to a Rome report. The cas- 
ualties were unknown. 

Petrograd announced that Russian torpedo craft intercepted 
a large convoy of Turkish sailing vessels in the Black Sea on 
June 29, 1916, and destroyed fifty-four ships. The attack took 
place off the Anatolian coast, and several hundred men were 
believed to have been drowned. If the number of ships sunk was 
correct it established a record for the war. 

The former German warship Goeben, renamed the Sultan 
Selim, shelled Tournose, a Russian Black Sea port, on July 3, 
1916, and did considerable damage. One steamship in the harbor 
went down as a result of shell fire and large oil works near the 
city broke into flames. The Breslau, called the Midullu by the 
Turks, bombarded Scotchy, a near-by port, about the same time. 
Several fires started in the latter city and there were some casu- 
alties at both points. 

A second Russian hospital ship, the Vperiode, was torpedoed 
in the Black Sea, July 9, 1916, with a loss of seven lives. She was 
a ship of 850 tons, having accommodations for about 120 
wounded. Like the Portugal, sunk by a submarine some weeks 
before the Vperiode was plainly marked with the usual Red Cross 
emblem. The attack came in daylight and was accepted by the 
Russians as having been deliberately made, which once more 
aroused the indignation of the Russian people. 

Berlin announced July 7, 1916, that the British steamer Les- 
tris, outward bound from Liverpool had been captured near the 
British East Coast and taken to a German port. This second 
capture in the channel within a few days caused considerable 
criticism in England. 

As dawn was breaking on July 10, 1916, a submarine came 
alongside a tug in Hampton Roads and asked for a pilot. The 
pilot went aboard and found himself on the subsea freighter 
Deutschland, first merchant submarine to be built and the first 
to make a voyage. She came from Bremerhaven, a distance of 
4,000 miles, in sixteen days. Reports had been current since the 
U-35 made her trip to Cartagena that the kaiser would send a 
message to President Wilson by an undersea boat. The American 

H— War St. 5 



112 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

public scouted the idea as being impossible of accomplishment, 
but the report persisted, and cities along the Atlantic Coast line 
had been on the watch for several days. The Deutschland 
eventually turned into Hampton Roads, piloted by a waiting tug, 
and tied up at a Baltimore dock. 

The submarine, which was the largest ever seen in American 
waters, became a seven days' wonder. Captain Paul Koenig and 
his twenty-nine men and officers told some interesting stories of 
their trip across the ocean. It was said that the Deutschland 
could remain submerged for four days. When they got into the 
English Channel there was a cordon of warships barring exit 
to the Atlantic that made them extremely cautious. So Captain 
Koenig let his vessel lay on the bottom of the channel for a day 
and a night while the men enjoyed themselves with a phonograph 
and rousing German songs. When their enemies thinned out to 
some extent the submarine started again on her way and headed 
directly for Baltimore, which she reached without special in- 
cident. 

The Deutschland immediately received the name of supersub- 
marine. Some thousand tons of dyes and other valuable products 
filled her hold. They were reported to be worth $1,000,000. The 
vessel was able to make twelve knots an hour on the surface and 
about seven knots when submerged. She traveled most of the way 
across on the surface, being under water about one-third of the 
time. In addition to her valuable cargo, she brought a special 
message from Kaiser Wilhelm to the president. 

No other submarine, so far as known, had made a trip of such 
distance as the Deutschland up to that time. Longer voyages 
have been accredited to several British submarines, but they 
were either made with a convoy or broken by stops enroute. 
Soon after the beginning of the war, several Australian sub- 
marines journeyed from their far-away home ports to the Dar- 
danelles, traveling 13,000 miles. They called at various points in 
the two Americas. Submarines built in America and assembled 
in Canada proceeded from Newfoundland to Liverpool before the 
Deutschland crossed the Atlantic, but they had another ship as 
convoy. 



DEATH OF LORD KITCHENER 113 

The Sultan Selim and the Midullu clashed with Russian ships 
in the Black Sea, July 11, 1916, sinking four merchant vessels. 
They also bombarded harbor works on the Caucasian Coast 
near Puab. Both attacking vessels made their escape without 
injury. 

Vienna reported on the same day the sinking of five British 
patrol boats in the Otranto Road, between Italy and Albania, by 
the cruiser Novara, Only nine men were saved. 

Seaham Harbor, a small coal port near Sunderland, on the 
British Channel coast, was shelled by a submarine the night of 
July 11, 1916. Thirty rounds of shrapnel started several fires 
and caused the death of one woman. Berlin also claimed the 
sinking of a British auxiliary cruiser of 7,000 tons and three 
patrol vessels on the night of that day. The statement was never 
denied in London, and no details were made public as to the fate 
of the crews. 

The Italian destroyer Impetuoso was torpedoed in the Adri- 
atic, July 16, 1916, with a loss of 125 lives. 

In retaliation for Turkish attacks upon her hospital ships, 
Russia announced July 21, 1916, that she would no longer respect 
hospital ships of the Ottomans. It was pointed out that hitherto 
all vessels bearing the markings of the Red Crescent Society, 
which is the Turkish equivalent of the Red Cross, had been uni- 
formly respected. This declaration by Russia implied a depth of 
resentment that had swept through all of the allied countries 
because of deeds said to have been committed by the Teutons and 
their Turkish cohorts. Some few reprisals were taken by France 
in the way of air raids in retaliation for the bombardment of open 
cities. But this was the first recorded step of Russia in that 
direction and foretold a war in which all quarter would dis- 
appear. 

Two years of fighting had cost both sides heavily upon the sea. 
Up to August 1, 1915, according to the best available figures, the 
allied navies lost seventy-one warships, with a tonnage of 326,- 
855. Great Britain was a sufferer to the extent of forty-two 
ships in that first year, aggregating 254,494 tons, represented by 
eight battleships, three armored cruisers, four protected cruisers, 



114 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

four light cruisers, and twenty-three smaller craft. In the same 
period France lost twelve ships of 28,027 tons ; Russia six ships 
of 21,775 tons ; Japan seven ships of 4,801, and Italy four ships 
of 17,758 tons. 

The losses of Germany, Austria and Turkey in 1915 were 
placed at eighty-nine ships, with a gross tonnage of 262,791. Of 
these Germany lost sixty-nine vessels, aggregating 238,904 tons, 
and consisting of one battle cruiser, five armored cruisers, ten 
protected cruisers and fifty smaller craft. Austria lost seven 
ships of 7,397 tons, and Turkey thirteen ships of 16,490 tons. 

Curiously enough the second year's figures show smaller losses 
for both sides. The Allies are accredited with forty-one ships 
having a tonnage of 202,600, and the Teutonic allies with thirty 
three ships, having a tonnage of 125,120. Thirty-four British 
ships were sunk, including two battleships, three battle cruisers, 
seven protected cruisers, two light cruisers, and seventeen smaller 
craft. The other losses were distributed between her partners 
in arms. 

Germany's loss in 1916 was twenty-six ships — four battle- 
ships, one battle cruiser, six protected cruisers, and fifteen 
smaller craft, approximating 114,620 tons. The remaining 
casualties on the German side were divided between Austria 
and Turkey. 

These figures do not take into account several vessels claimed 
to have been sunk by both sides but are predicated upon known 
sea casualties. During the two years Germany sustained a re- 
duction of 18.5 of her strength in battleships and battle cruisers 
of the dreadnought era, which means ships built since 1904, and 
these are the units that really count in modern warfare. Britain 
is believed to have lost 6.6 of similar vessels. In light cruisers 
her loss was only 5.2 per cent, while Germany was weakened 
nearly 45 per cent in that class of vessel. The figures shift for 
vessels of an older type, showing a ratio of about two to one 
against Great Britain. This is due largely to the Dardanelles 
enterprise and because in some instances older craft were as- 
signed to many dangerous undertakings where the newer ships 
were held in reserve. 



DEATH OF LORD KITCHENER 115 

In every engagement of any consequence that took place during 
the first two years of war, with the single exception of the fight 
off Chile, Britain won and Germany lost. But Germany inflicted 
greater injury upon her opponent than any other nation in all 
the years of Britain's maritime supremacy. The actual material 
loss to her enemies was larger than her own. Despite this and 
the fact of Germany's strongest efforts Britain still ruled the 
waves. 



PART III— CAMPAIGN ON THE EASTERN 

FRONT 



CHAPTER XV 

THE EASTERN FRONT AT THE APPROACH 
OF SPRING, 1916 

IN the preceding volumes we have followed the fates of the 
Austrian, German, and Russian armies from the beginning of 
the war up to March 1, 1916. Although spring weather does 
not set in in any part of the country through which the eastern 
front ran until considerable time after that date, events along 
the western front, where the Germans were then hammering 
away at the gates of Verdun, had shaped themselves in such 
a manner that they were bound to influence the plans of the 
Russian General Staff. It was, therefore, not much of a surprise 
that a Russian offensive should set in previous to the actual 
arrival of spring. 

As we shall see shortly, the first two weeks or so of March, 
1916, saw a renewal of active fighting at many points along 
the entire eastern front. But most of this was restricted 
during this period to engagements between small bodies 
of troops and in most instances amounted to little more than 
clashes between patrols. This preliminary period of recon- 
noitering was followed by another short period of prepara- 
tory work on the part of the Russian armies consisting of artil- 
lery attacks on certain selected points and undertaken with a 
violence and an apparently unlimited supply of guns and am- 
munition such as had not been displayed by the Russian forces 
on any previous occasion, and when, after these preliminaries 

116 



THE EASTERN FRONT 117 

the actual offensive was launched, the number of men employed 
was proportionally immense. 

Before we follow in detail developments along the eastern 
front, it will be well for a fuller understanding of these, to 
visualize again its location and to determine once more the dis- 
tribution of the forces maintaining it on both sides. In it» loca- 
tion the eastern front had experienced very little change since 
the winter of 1915 had set in and ended active campaigning. 
Its northern end now rested on the southwest shore of the Gulf 
of Riga at a point about ten miles northwest of the Baltic town 
of Pukkum on the Riga-Windau railroad and about thirty 
miles northwest of Riga itself. From these it ran in a south- 
easterly direction through Schlock, crossed the river Aa where 
it touches Lake Babit, passed to the north of the village of 
Oley and only about five miles south of Riga, and reached the 
Dvina about halfway between Uxkull and Riga. From there 
it followed more or less closely the left bank of the Dvina, 
passed Friedrichstadt and Jacobstadt to a point just west of 
Kalkuhnen, a little town on the bend of the Dvina, opposite 
Dvinsk. There it continued, generally speaking, in a southerly 
direction, at some points with a slight twist to the east, at 
others with a similarly slight turn to the west. It thus passed 
just east of Lake Drisviaty, crossed the Disna River at Koziany, 
then ran through Postavy and just east of Lake Narotch, crossed 
the Viliya River and the Vilna-Minsk railroad at Smorgon, and 
reached the Niemen at Lubcha. From thence it passed by the 
towns of Korelitchy, Zirin, Luchowtchy and entered the Pripet 
Marshes at Lipsk. About ten miles south of the latter town 
the line crossed the Oginsky Canal and followed along its west 
bank through the town of Teletshany to about the point where 
the canal joins the Jasiolda River. From that point the Germans 
still maintained their salient that swings about five miles to 
the east of the city of Pinsk. 

Up to just south of the Pinsk salient, where the line crossed 
the Pripet River, it was held, for the Central Powers, almost 
exclusively by German troops. Below that point its defense was 
almost entirely in the hands of Austro-Hungarian regiments. 



118 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Soon after crossing the Pripet River the line reached the Styr 
River and followed its many turns for some thirty miles, now 
on its western bank and then again on its eastern shore. This 
river was crossed between Czartorysk and Kolki. About thirty 
miles south of Kolki, just to the east of the village of 0|yka 
the Russians had succeeded in maintaining a small salient, the 
apex of which was directed toward their lost fortress of Lutsk 
almost twenty miles to the west, while the southern side passed 
very close to, that other fortress, Dubno, even though it ran 
still some distance to the east of it. Crossing then the Lemberg- 
Rovno railroad, the line ran along both banks of the Sokal River 
to Ikva and crossed the Galician border near Novo Alexinez. 

A short distance south of the border, about twenty miles, it 
crossed the Lemberg-Tarnopol railroad, at Jesierne, a little town 
about sixty miles east of Lemberg and less than twenty miles 
west of Tamopol. Ten miles further south the Strypa River was 
crossed and followed within a mile or so along its west bank for 
a distance of some twenty miles, passing west of Burkanow 
and Buczacz. Just south of the latter town the line overspread 
both banks of the Strypa up to its junction with the Dniester, 
thence along the banks of this stream for almost twenty miles 
to a point about ten miles west of the junction of the Sereth 
River with the Dniester. At that point the line took another 
slight turn to the east, passing just east of the city of Czemowitz, 
and crossing at that point the river Pruth into the Austrian 
province of Bukowina. Less than ten miles southeast of Czer- 
novitz the border of Rumania was reached near Wama and 
thereby the end of the line. 

As the crow flies, the length of this line, from the Gulf of 
Riga to the Rumanian border was six hundred and twenty 
miles. Actually, counting its many turns and twists and sa- 
lients, it covered more than seven hundred and fifty miles. 
From the Gulf to the Pripet River the eastern front was held 
by German troops with one single exception. 

From there an Austrian army corps with only a very slight 
admixture of German troops completed the front of the Central 
Empires down to the Bessarabian border. 



THE EASTERN FPwONT 



119 




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s c<q^L.E OF r^iLEs 
o 20 50 100 

w<iB» FRONTIERS 
■■■■■ BATTLE LINE 
AUGUST 15. 1916 
• ••• LINE A5 IT WAS BEFORE 
RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE juNesigie 



J^\ BOTOSHANI 



EASTERN BATTLE FRONT, AUGUST, 1916 



120 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

From the Gulf of Riga down to the Oginski Canal five distinct 
German army corps were facing the Russians. The most north- 
ern of these covered the Gulf section and the Dvina front down 
to a point near Friedrichstadt. The second group was lined up 
from that point on down to somewhere just south of Lake Dris- 
viaty, the third from Lake Drisviaty to the Viliya River, the 
fourth from the Viliya River to the Niemen River, and the fifth 
from the Niemen to the Oginski Canal. Generals von Scholz, 
von Eichhorn, von Fabeck, and von Woyrsch, were in command 
of these difficult units, with Field Marshal von Hindenburg in 
supreme command. The sector south of the Oginski Canal and 
up to the Pripet River was held by another army group under 
the command of Field Marshal Prince Leopold of Bavaria. 

The first Austrian army corps, forming the left wing of the 
front held by the Austro-Hungarian forces, was commanded by 
Archduke Joseph Ferdinand. Later on, as the rapid success of 
the Russian offensive made it necessary for German troops to 
come to the assistance of their sorely pressed allies. General 
von Linsingen was dispatched from the north with reenforce- 
ments and assumed supreme command of this group of armies 
located in Volhjmia. The command of the Galician front was 
in the hands of the Bavarian general, Count von Bothmer, 
while the forces fighting in the Bukowina were directed by 
General Pflanzer. 

On the Russian side of the line General Kuropatkin, well 
known from the Russo-Japanese War, was in command of the 
northern half of the front. Of course, there were a number of 
other generals under him in charge of the various sectors of 
this long line. But on account of the comparative inactivity 
which was maintained most of the time along this line, their 
niames did not figure largely. South of the Pripet Marshes 
General Alexeieff was in supreme command. Under him were 
General Brussilov and General Kaledin in Volhjmia, General 
Sakharoff in Galicia, and the Cossack General Lechitsky in the 
Bukowina along the Dniester. Here, too, of course were a num- 
ber of other commanders who, however, came into prominence 
only occasionally. 



THE EASTERN FRONT 121 

An intimate view of some of the Russian generals and their 
troops is presented in the following description from the pen 
of the official English press representative : 

'The head of the higher command, General Alexeieff, early 
in the Galician campaign clearly proved, as chief of staff to 
General Ivanoff , his extraordinary capacity to direct an advance. 
As commander on the Warsaw front he made it evident that 
he could, with an army short of all material things, hold until 
the last moment an enemy equipped with everything, and then 
escape the enemy's clutches. At Vilna he showed his technique 
by again eluding the enemy. 

"General Kaledin, the commander of the army on the Koyel 
front, is relatively a new figure in important operations. At 
the beginning of the war, as commander of a cavalry division, his 
universal competence in all operations committed to his care 
brought him rapid promotion, until now he is the head of this 
huge army. Meeting him frequently as a guest, I have come 
to feel great confidence in this resolute, quiet man, who is sur- 
rounded by a sober, serious staff, each officer picked for his 
past performance. 

"I note an infinite improvement since last year in the army. 
In the first place I see no troops without rifles, and there is no 
shortage of ammunition apparent. Then there is ,an extraor- 
dinary improvement in the organization of the transport. In 
spite of the large volume of troops on this front they are moving 
with less confusion than the transport of single corps entailed 
two years ago. The compact organization of munition columns^ 
and the absence of wasted time have speeded up communications 
fully fifty per cent, enabling three units to be moved as easily 
as two last year. 

**The transport has been further improved by the addition of 
motor vehicles. The staff organization is incomparably better 
than at the beginning of the war, and I have not seen a single 
staff on this front which is not entirely competent. The system 
of transporting the wounded has been well organized, and vast 
numbers are being cleared from the front stations without con- 
fusion or congestion. 



122 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"In comparison I can recall the early Galician days when 
unimagined numbers of wounded, both our own and Austrian, 
flooded Lemberg in a few days, and there were countless casu- 
alties. In spite of the numbers of wounded here I have not 
seen any congestion, and I find all the clearing stations cleared 
within a few hours after every fight, the wounded passing to 
base hospitals and being evacuated into the interior of Russia 
with great promptness. 

"Owing to the few good roads and the distance from the rail- 
way of much of the fighting, in many places the wounded have 
been obliged to make trips of two or three days in peasants' carts 
before reaching the railways. 

"Finally, the morale of the army has reached an unexampled 
pitch. In the hospitals which I inspected with the general many 
of the wounded, even those near death, called for news of the 
front, asking if the trenches were taken, and saying they were 
willing to die if the Germans were only beaten. Such sentiments 
typify fhe extent to which this conflict is now rooted in the 
hearts of the Russian army and people." 



CHAPTER XVI 



THE RUSSIAN M AR C H — -0 F FE N S I VE 
FROM RIGA TO PINSK 

BEGINNING with March 1, 1916, active campaigning was 
renewed along the eastern front. CHmatic conditions, of 
course, made any extensive movements impossible as yet. But 
from here and there reports came of local attacks, of more fre- 
quent clashes between patrols, and of renewed artillery activity. 
Some of these occurred in the Bukowina, in Bessarabia, and in 
Galicia, others in the neighborhood of Baranovitchy, north of 
the Pripet Marshes, and, later, toward the middle of March, 
1916, fighting took place at the northernmost point of the line, 
near Lake Babit. 



THE RUSSIAN MARCH 123 

It was not until March 17, 1916, however, that it became more 
apparent what was the purpose of the many encounters between 
Russian and German patrols that had been officially reported 
with considerable regularity since the beginning of March. On 
March 17, 1916, both the German and Austro-Hungarian official 
statements reported increased Russian artillery fire all along the 
line. On the following day, March 18, 1916, the Russians started 
a series of violent attacks. The first of these was launched in the 
sector south of Dvinsk. This is the region covered witk a number 
of small marshy lakes that had seen a great deal of the most 
desperate fighting in 1915. With great violence Russian infantry 
was thrown against the German lines that ran from Lake Dris- 
viaty south to the town of Postavy; another attack of equal 
strength developed still further south along both banks of Lake 
Narotch. But the German lines not only held, but threw back 
the attacking forces with heavy losses which, according to the 
German official statement of that day were claimed to have num- 
bered at Lake Narotch alone more than 9,000 in dead. 

In spite of these heavy losses and of the determined German 
resistance, the Russians repeated the attack with even increased 
force on March 19, 1916. At Lake Drisviaty, in the neighborhood 
of Postavy and between Lake Vishnieff and Lake Narotch attack 
after attack was launched with the greatest abandon. This time 
the Germans not only repulsed all these attacks, but promptly 
launched a counterattack near Vidzy, a little country town on the 
Vilna-Dvinsk post road, capturing thereby some 300 men. The 
German official statement claimed that these prisoners belonged 
to seven different Russian regiments, giving thereby an indication 
of the comparatively large masses of troops employed on the 
Russian side. 

Again on March 30, 1916, new attacks were launched in the 
same locality. At one point the Germans were forced to with- 
draw a narrow salient which protruded to a considerable distance 
just south of Lake Narotch. Russian machine guns had been 
placed in such positions that they enfiladed the salient in three 
directions and made it untenable. The German line here was 
withdrawn a few hundred feet toward the heights of Blisuiki. 



124 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

During the night of March 20, 1916, especially violent attacks 
were again launched against the German lines between Postavy 
and Vileity, a small village to the northwest of that town. There 
the Russians succeeded in gaining a foothold in the German 
trenches. During the afternoon the Russians attempted to extend 
this success. With renewed violence they trained their guns on 
the German positions. In order to throw back a strong German 
counterattack, a curtain of fire was laid before the trenches 
stormed earlier in the day. At the same time German artillery 
strongly supported the attack of their infantry. On both sides 
the gunfire became so violent that single shots could not be dis- 
tinguished any longer. Shrapnel exploded without cessation and 
rifle fire became so rapid that it sounded hardly less loudly than 
the gunfire. Late in the afternoon the Germans succeeded in re- 
taking the trenches which they had lost in the morning, capturing 
at that time the Russian victors of the morning to the number 
of 600. 

On the same day, March 21, 1916, the Russians extended the 
sphere of their attack. At the same time that they were hammer- 
ing away at the German lines south of Dvinsk other attacks were 
launched all along the northern front. In the Riga region, near 
the village of Plakanen, as well as in the district south of Dahlen 
Island, heavy engagements were fought. Farther south, be- 
tween Friedrichstadt and Jacobstadt, on the south bank of the 
Dvina River the Russians captured a village and wood east of 
Augustinhof. 

At many other points, along the entire eastern front from Lake 
Narotch south attacks developed. In most of these the Russians 
assumed the initiative. But here and there — ^near Tverietch, just 
south of Vidzy ; along Lake Miadziol, just north of Lake Narotch, 
and around Lake Narotch itself — ^the Germans attempted a series 
of counterattacks which, however, yielded no tangible results. 
All in all, the day's fighting made little change in the respective 
positions and the losses in men were about evenly divided. 

The violence and energy with which the Russian attacks during 
March were executed may readily be seen from reports of special 
correspondents, who were behind the German lines at that pe- 



THE RUSSIAN MARCH 125 

viod. Their collective testimony also tends to confirm the German 
claims that very large Russian forces were used and that their 
losses were immense. 

**From Riga to the Rumanian border/' says one of these eye- 
witnesses, "thundered the crashing of guns. . . . About sev- 
enty miles northeast of Mitau, a chain of lakes runs through the 
wooded, swampy country, narrow, long bodies of water follow 
the course of Mjadsjolke River, a natural trench in a region that 
is otherwise a very difficult territory by nature. In the south the 
chain is closed by Lake Narotch, a large secluded body of water 
of some thirty-five square miles, through which now runs the 
front. In the north of this chain of lakes, near the village of Pos- 
tavy, a thundering of guns commenced on the morning of March 
18, 1916, such as the eastern front had hardly ever heard before. 
Russian drum fire! From out of the woods, across the ice and 
snow water of the swamps, line after line came storming against 
the German trenches. ... On the same day, farther south, be- 
tween Lakes Narotch and Vishnieff another Russian attack was 
launched. . . . The losses of the Russians are immense. More than 
5,000 dead and wounded must be lying before our positions only 
about ten miles wide. During the night a lull came. But with the 
break of dawn the drum fire broke out once more, and again the 
waves of infantry rolled up against our positions. . . . During the 
night from March 19 to March 20, 1916, the drum fire of the Rus- 
sian guns increased to veritable fury. As if the entire supply of 
ammunition collected throughout the winter months were to be 
used up all at once, shells continuously shrieked and howled 
through the darkness: 50,000 hits were counted in one single 
sector. . . .** 

Another correspondent writes : "The numbers of the Russians 
are immense. They have about ^ixty infantry divisions ready. 
Their losses are in proportion and were estimated on a front 
of about ninety miles to have been near to 80,000 men. For in- 
stance, against one German cavalry brigade there were thrown 
seven regiments with a very narrow front, but eight lines deep. 
Four times they came rushing on against the German barbed- 
wire obstacles without being able to break through, but losing 



I 



126 THE STORY OP THE GREAT WAR 

some 3,000 men just the same. ... On March. 24, 1916, 6,000 
Russian shells were counted in a small sector on the Dvinsk 
front." 

In the latter sector and to the north of it, heavy fighting had 
developed on March 22 and 23, 1916. Especially around Jacol> 
stadt, attack followed attack, both sides taking turns in assuming 
the offensive. The Russian attacks were particularly violent 
during the evening and night of March 22, 1916, and in some 
places resulted in the temporary invasion of the German first- 
line trenches. Especially hard was fighting along the Jaco.bstadt- 
Mitau railroad. Between Dvinsk and Lake Drisviaty a violent 
artillery and rifle duel was kept up almost continuously, resulting 
at one point, just below Dvinsk near Shishkovo, in the breaking 
up of a German attack. South of the lake, at the village of Mint- 
siouny, however, a German attack succeeded and drove the Rus- 
sians out of some trenches which they had gained only the day 
before. Here, too, both artillery and rifle fire of great violence 
carried death into both the Russian and German ranks. At Vidzy, 
a few miles farther south, the Russians stormed four times in 
quick succession against the German positions. Northwest of 
Postavy another Russian attack failed, the Germans capturing 
over 900 men and officers at that particular point. On the other 
hand, a German attack still farther south and northwest of Lake 
Narotch was repulsed and the Russians made slight gains in the 
face of a most violent fire. Near the south shore of Lake Narotch 
a German attack supported by asphyxiating gas forced back 
the Russians on a very narrow front for a very short distance. 
From Lake Narotch down to the Pripet Marshes the Russians 
maintained a lively cannonade at many points without, however, 
making any attacks in force. 

During March 23, 1916, a determined Russian attack against 
the bridgehead at Jacobstadt broke down under the heavy Ger- 
man gunfire. During the night repeated Russian attacks to the 
north of the Jacobstadt-Mitau railroad a surprise attack south- 
west of Dvinsk and violent attacks along the Dvinsk- Vidzy 
sector suffered the same fate, although in some instances the 
Russian troops succeeded in coming right up to the German 



THE RUSSIAN MARCH 127 

barbed-wire obstacles. Between Lake Narotch and Lake Vish- 
nieff the Russians captured some woods after driving out German 
forces which had constructed strong positions there. 

Without cessation the Russian attacks continued day by day. 
Fresh troops were l^rought up continuously. The munition sup- 
ply, which in the past had been one of the chief causes of Russian 
failure and disaster, seemed to have become suddenly inexhaust- 
ible. Not only was each attack carefully and extensively prepared 
by the most violent kind of artillery fire, but the latter was di- 
rected also against those German positions which at that time 
were immune from attack on account of the insurmountable 
natural difficulties brought about by climatic conditions. For by 
this time winter began to break up and ice and snow commenced 
to meet, signifying the rapid approach of the spring floods. To a 
certain extent these climatic conditions undoubtedly had an im- 
portant influence on Russian plans. Almost along the entire 
northern part of the front the Germans possessed one great 
advantage. Their positions were located on higher and drier 
ground than those of the Russians, whose trenches were on low 
ground, and would become next to untenable, once thaw and 
spring floods would set in in earnest. There is little doubt that 
the great energy and superb disregard of human life which the 
Russian commanders developed throughout the March offensive 
were principally the result of their strong desire to get their 
forces on better ground before it was too late or too difficult, and 
from a tactical point of view the risks which they took at that 
time and the price which they seemed to be willing to pay to 
achieve their ends were not any too great. 

In spite of the lack of any important success the Russian at- 
tacks against the Jacobstadt sector were renewed on March 24, 
1916. But the German guns had shot themselves in so well that 
it availed nothing. Other attacks, attempted to the southwest 
of Dvinsk and at various points north of Vidzy suffered the same 
fate. In the neighborhood of Lake Narotch Russian activities on 
that day were restricted to artillery fire. 

The Germans assumed the offensive on March 25, 1916, on the 
Riga-Dvinsk sector. Their guns were trained against Schlock, a 

I— War St. 5 



128 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

small town on the south shore of the Gulf of Riga, just northwest 
of Lake Babit, against the bridgehead at Uxkull, fifteen miles 
southeast of Riga on the Dvina, and against a number of other 
positions between that point and Jacobstadt. A German attempt 
to gain ground north of the small sector of the Mitau-Jacobstadt 
railway, that was still in Russian hands, failed in the face of a 
devastating Russian cannonade. A German trench was captured 
by Russian infantry ably supported by artillery west of Dvinsk, 
but neither southwest nor south of this fortress were the Rus- 
sians able to register any success. Northwest of Postavy and be- 
tween Lake Narotch and Lake Vishnieff heavy fighting still con- 
tinued and in some places developed into hand-to-hand fighting 
between smaller detachments. From Lake Narotch down to the 
Pripet Marshes German and Russian guns again raked the 
trenches facing them. 

On March 26, 1916, the following day, the Russians attacked 
at many points. Northwest of Jacobstadt, near the village of 
Augustinhof, a most violent attack brought no results. North- 
west of Postavy the Russians stormed two trenches. Southwest 
of Lake Narotch repeated heavy attacks were repulsed and some 
West Prussian regiments recovered an important observation 
point which they had lost a week before. Over 2,100 officers and 
men were captured that day by the Germans. Aeroplanes of the 
latter also resumed activity and dropped bombs on the stations 
at Dvinsk, and Vileika, as well as along the Baranovitchy-Minsk 
railroad. 

Russian artillery carried death and destruction into the Ger- 
man trenches on March 27, 1916, before Oley, south of Riga, 
and before the Uxkull bridgehead. In the Jacobstadt sector, as 
well as near Postavy, violent engagements, launched now by the 
Germans and then again by the Russians, occurred all day long 
without yielding any results to either side. Southwest of Lake 
Narotch the Russians made a determined attack with two di- 
visions against the positions captured by German regiments on 
the previous day, but were not able to dislodge the latter. Fight- 
ing also developed now in the Pripet Marshes and the territory 
immediately adjoining. Weather conditions were rapidly chang- 



THE RUSSIAN MARCH 129 

ing for the .worse all along" the eastern front. Thaw set in, and 
all marsh and lake ground was flooded. Everywhere, not only in 
the southern region, but also in the northern, the ice on the rivers 
and lakes became covered with water and was getting soft near 
the banks. Throughout the northern region the melting of the 
thickly lying snow in the roads was making the movements of 
troops and artillery extraordinarily difficult. 

As a result of these conditions, which were growing more 
difficult every day, a decided decrease in activity became imme- 
diately noticeable on both sides. For quite a time fighting, of 
course, continued at various points. But both the numbers of 
men employed as well as the intensity of their effort steadily 
increased. 

Before Dvinsk and just south of the fortress artillery fire 
formed the chief event on March 28, 1916. But south of Lake 
Narotch the Russians still kept up their attacks. At one point, 
where the Germans had gained a wood a few days ago the 
Russian forces attacked seven times in quick succession and 
thereby recovered the southern part of the forest. Along the 
Oginski Canal fighting was conducted at long range. G^erman 
aeroplanes again dropped .bombs, this time on the stations at 
Molodetchna on the Minsk- Vilna railroad, as well as at Politzy 
and Luniniets. 

Both March 30 and 31, 1916, were marked by a noticeable 
cessation of attacks on either side. Long-range rifle fire and ar- 
tillery cannonades, however, took place at many points from the 
Gulf down to the Pripet Marshes. German aeroplanes again at- 
tacked a number of stations on railroads leading out of Minsk 
to western points. 

Of all the violent fighting which took place during the second 
half of March, 1916, along the northern half of the eastern front, 
the little village of Postavy, perhaps, saw more than any other 
point. The special correspondent of a Chicago newspaper wit- 
nessed a great deal of this remarkably desperate struggle during 
his stay with Field Marshal von Hindenburg's troops. His vivid 
description, which follows, will give a good idea of the valor 
displayed both by German and Russian troops, as well as of the 



130 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

immense losses incurred by the attackers during this series of 
battles lasting ten days. 

"Despite the artillery, despite the machine guns and despite 
the infantry fire, the apparently inexhaustible regiments of 
Russians swept on over the dead, over the barbed-wire barriers 
before the German line, over the first trenches and routed the 
German soldiers, who were half frozen in the mud of their shat- 
tered shelters. A terrible hand-to-hand conflict followed. Hand 
grenades tore down scores of defenders and assailants* attacks. 
The men fought like maniacs with spades, bayonets, knives and 
clubbed guns. 

"But the Russians won at a fearful price for so slight a gain. 
They stopped within a hundred feet of victory. It may have 
been lack of discipline, lack of officers or lack of reserves; no 
one knows. 

"The Russians seemed helpless in the German trenches. In- 
stead of sweeping on to the second lines they tried to intrench 
themselves in the wrecked German first line. Immediately Ger- 
man artillery hurled shells of the heaviest caliber into those lines 
and tore them into fragments. 

"Then came the reserves and by nightfall the Russians had 
again been driven out. 

"Four days later, suddenly without warning, a mud-colored 
wave began to pour forth from the forest. It was a line of Rus- 
sians three ranks deep containing more than 1,000 men. Behind 
this was a second wave like the first, and then a third. 

"The German artillery tore holes in the ranks, which merel>' 
closed up again, marched on, and made no attempt to fire. They 
marched as though on parade. 'It was magnificent but criminal !' 
said a German officer. 

"When a fourth line emerged from the woods the German 
artillery dropped a curtain of fire behind it, and then a similar 
wall of shells ahead of those in front. They then moVed these 
two walls closer together with a hail of shrapnel between them, 
while at the same time they cut loose with the machine guns. 

"The splendid formation of Russians, trapped between the 
walls of fire, scattered heedlessly in vain. Shells gouged deep 



THE RUSSIAN MARCH l^l 

holes in the dissolving ranks. The air was filled with clamor and 
frantic shrieks were sometimes heard above the incessant roar 
and cracking of exploding projectiles. 

"Defeated men sought to dig themselves into the ground in the 
foolish belief that they could find safety there from this deluge 
of shells. Others raced madly for the rear and some escaped in 
this way as if by a miracle. Still others ran toward the German 
lines only to be cut down by the German machine-gun fire. 

"In less than twenty minutes the terrible dream was over. The 
attack had cost the Russians 4,000 lives, and yet not a Russian 
soldier had come within 600 yards of the German line." 

Another important feature of the March offensive, especially 
in its early phases, was the patrol work, executed on both sides. 
This required not only courage of the highest order, but also a 
high degree of intelligence on the part of the leader as well as of 
the men working under him. The results obtained by patrol 
work are, of course, of the greatest importance to the respective 
commanding officers, and many times the way in which such a 
mission is carried out is the decisive factor in bringing success 
or failure to an important movement. At the same time patrol 
work is, of course, a matter of chiefly local importance, and no 
matter how difficult the problem or how cleverly it is solved it is 
only on rare occasions that the result reaches the outside world, 
even though a collection of detailed reports which patrol leaders 
are able to make would form a story that would put to shadow 
the most impossible book of fiction or the most unbeliev^^ble 
adventure film. 

The following two descriptions of such work, therefore, make 
not oiily a highly sensational story, but prove also that war in 
modem times relies almost as much on personal valor and ini- 
tiative as in times gone by, all claims to the contrary notwith- 
standing, and in spite of the wonderful technical progress which 
military science of our times shares with all other sciences. 

An American special newspaper correspondent with Von Hin- 
denburg's army reports the following occurrences and also gives 
a vivid pen picture of conditions in the territory immediately 
behind the front: 



132 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"In a forest near the town of Lyntupy a patrol of thirteen 
Russian spies hid in an abandoned German dugout in the course 
of a night march southward to destroy a bridge over the river 
Viliya with high explosives. 

"Desperate for food, they finally intrusted their safety to a 
Polish forester, ordering him to bring food. The forester 
promptly gave the Germans information. The Germans sur- 
rounded the dugout, throwing in three hand grenades. On enter- 
ing the dugout they discovered ten Russians killed by grenades 
and three by bullets. 

"The Russian lieutenant had shot two comrades not killed by 
grenades and then himself, in order to escape execution as spies, 
for the patrol was not in uniform. 

"Another audacity was performe'd during a Russian attack 
on the German trenches. From the darkness came a voice calling 
in perfect German, What is the matter with you? Are you 
soldiers? Are you Germans? Are you men? Why don't you get 
forward and attack the Russians? Are you afraid?* 

"Bewildered by these words coming up to them direct from 
the nearest wire entanglements, the Germans turned a search- 
light in the direction, discovering the speaker to be a Russian 
officer who had taken his life in his hands on the chance of 
drawing the Germans from the trenches. His audacity cost him 
his life, for instantly he fell before a volley of bullets. 

"The Germans speak well of the marksmanship of considerable 
bodies of the Russian infantry. Personally, I can say they shoot 
as well as I have any desire to have men shoot when aiming at 
me. Twice on Friday I was sent scurrying off exposed ridges by 
the waspish whisper of bullets coming from a Russian position 
jutting from the south shore of Lake Miadziol. 

"There is not only railroad building, but also much farming 
going on around Karolinow. The land for a distance of thirty 
miles has been divided into thirteen farm districts by the Ger- 
mans and planted to iwtatoes, rye, oats and summer barley. In 
many parts the Germans are taking a census, all their methodi- 
calness contributing vastly to the troops' comfort and happiness. 
Their health is amazing. The records of one division show five 



AUSTRO-RUSSIAN OPERATIONS 133 

sick men daily, which is not as many as one would find in any 
town of 20,000 in any part of the world. 

"German caution and inventiveness also keep down the casual- 
ties marvelously. Records I saw to-day showed thirty-eight 
wounded in one division in the month of March, though the di- 
vision was attacked twice during the offensive. The percentage 
of heavily wounded for all the German troops in this region in 
the last three months averages seven. 

"Despite the horrible roads, Field Marshal von Hindenburg 
has penetrated to numerous villages on the front in the last few 
days to greet and thank the troops. Returning to his head- 
quarters Von Hindenburg attended a banquet given by princes, 
nobles and generals of the empire to mark the fiftieth year of 
the field marshal's army service. Present amid the notables was 
a private soldier, in civil life a blacksmith, who was elected with 
two officers by their comrades to represent Von Hindenburg's 
old regiment at the banquet. The private was chosen because he 
had been in all the battles, but never had been wounded and 
never sick. He wears the Iron Cross of both classes." 



CHAPTER XVII 



RESUMPTION OP AUSTRO-RUSSIAN" 
OPERATIONS 

JUST as was the case along the Russo-German line, consider- 
able local fighting took place during the early part of March, 
to the south, along the Austro-Russian front. Here, too, much 
of it was between scouting parties and advanced outposts who 
attempted to feel out each other's strength. Occasionally one 
or the other side would launch an attack, with small forces, which, 
however, had little influence on general conditions, even though 
the fighting always was furious and violent. 

On March 4, 1916, a detachment of Russian scouts belonging 
to General Ivanoff's army captured and occupied an advanced 



134 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Austrian trench, close to the bridgehead of Michaleze, to the 
northeast of the town of Uscieszko on the Dniester River. Aus- 
trian forces immediately atteinpted to regain this position, 
launching three separate attacks against it. But the Russian 
troops held on to their slight gain. Near by, in the neighborhood 
of Zamnshin on the Dniester, Russian engineers had constructed 
elaborate mining works which were exploded on the same day, 
doing considerable damage to the Austrian defense works, and 
enabling the Russian forces to occupy some advanced Austrian 
trenches. 

During the next two weeks considerable fighting of this 
nature occurred at many points along the front from the Pripet 
Marshes down to the Dniester. At no time, however, were the 
forces engaged on either side very numerous, nor did the results 
change the front materially. The various engagements coming 
so early in the year, quite some time before spring could be ex- 
pected, signified, however, that there were more important un- 
dertakings in the air. The fact that the Russians were es- 
pecially active in these scouting expeditions — for they really 
amounted to little more at that time — rather pointed toward 
an early resumption of the offensive on their part. 

It was, therefore, not at all surprising that, before long, a 
considerable increase in Russian artillery activity became notice- 
able. About the middle of March, coincident with a similar in- 
crease of artillery attacks along the German-Russian front, the 
Russian guns in South Poland, Galicia, and the Bukowina be- 
gan to thunder again as they had not done since the fall of 1915. 
This was especially done along the Dniester River and the Bes- 
sarabian front. 

During the night of March 17, 1916, the Austrian position 
near Uscieszko, which had been attacked before in the early 
part of March, again was subjected to extensive attacks 
by means of mines and to a considerable amount of shelling. 
This was a strongly fortified position, guar<iing a bridgehead 
on the Dniester, which had been held by the Austrians ever since 
October, 1915. The mining operations W(ire so successfully 
planned and executed that the Austrian^ were forced to with- 



AUSTRO-RUSSIAN OPERATIONS 135 

draw a short distance, when the Russians followed the explosion 
of their mines with a determined attack with hand grenades. 
In spite of this, however, the Austrians held the major part of 
this position until March 19, 1916. 

How furious the lighting was on both sides is indicated in 
the official Austrian statement announcing on March 20, 1916, 
the final withdrawal from this position: 

"Yesterday evening, after six months of brave defense, the 
destroyed bridge and fortifications to the northwest of Uscieszko 
(on the Dniester) were evacuated. Although the Russians 
succeeded in the morning in exploding a breach 330 yards in 
width, the garrison, which was attacked by an eightfold su- 
perior force, despite all losses held out for seven hours in a 
most violent gun and infantry fire. 

"Only at 5 o'clock in the afternoon the commandant, Colonel 
Planckh, determined to evacuate the destroyed fortifications. 
Smaller detachments and the wounded reached the south bank 
of the Dniester by means of boats. Soon, however, this means 
of transport had to be given up, owing to the concentrated fire 
of the enemy. 

"There remained for our brave troops, composed of the Kaiser 
Dragoons and sappers, only one outlet if they were to evade 
capture. They had to cut their way through Uscieszko, which 
was strongly occupied by the enemy, to our troops ensconced on 
the heights north of Zaleszczyki. The march through the enemy 
position succeeded. Under cover of night Colonel Planckh led 
his heroic men toward our advanced posts northwest of 
Zaleszczyki, where he arrived early this morning." 

During the next few days the fire from the Russian batteries 
increased still more in violence. It did not, however, at any 
time or place assume the same strength which it had reached 
by that time at many points along the Russo-German front, 
north of the Pripet Marshes. Nor, indeed, did the Russians 
duplicate in the south their attempt at a determined offensive 
which they were making then in the north. 

Considering the relative importance of Russian activities 
during the month of March, 1916, most of the engagements 



136 THE STORT OF THE GREAT WAR 

which took place in Galicia and Volhynia must be classed as 
unimportant. On March 21, 1916, it is true, abnost the entire 
Austrian front was subjected to extensive artillery fire. But 
only at a few points was this followed by infantry attacks, and 
these were executed with small detachments only. Along the 
Strypa River Russian forces attempted to advance at various 
points, without gaining any ground. 

Throughout the following days many engagements between 
individual outposts were again reported. On March 27, 1916, 
a Russian attempt to capture Austrian positions near Bojan, 
after destroying some of the fortifications by mines, failed. A 
similar fate met the attempt made during that night to cross 
the Strypa River at its junction with the Dniester. Other parts 
of the front, especially near Olyka and along the Bessarabian 
border, were again subjected to heavy artillery fire. 

Although, generally speaking, the Austrians restricted them- 
selves in most instances to a determined resistance against all 
Russian attacks, they took the offensive in some places, without, 
however, making any more headway than their adversaries. 
By the end of March, 1916, aeroplanes became more active on 
this part of the front, just as they did further north. On March 
28, 1916, both sides report more or less successful bombing 
expeditions, which on that day seemed to bring better results 
to the Austrians than to the Russians, though these operations, 
too, must be considered of minor importance. Increasingly bad 
weather now began to hamper further undertakings, just as it 
did in the north, and by March 31, 1916, the Russian activities 
seemed to have lost most of their energy. Along the entire 
southeastern front thaw set in and the snows were melting. 
Although the territory along the Austro-Russian front, south 
of the Pripet Marshes, is not as difficult as further north, not 
being equally swampy, the fact that the line ran to a great 
extent along rivers and through a mountainous, or at least hilly 
country, resulted in difficulties hardly less serious. Rivers and 
creeks which only a few weeks before held little water suddenly 
became torrents and caused a great deal of additional suffering 
to the troops on both sides by invading their trenches. 



AUSTRO-RUSSIAN OPERATIONS 137 

The Russian offensive had barely slowed down when the 
Austrians themselves promptly assumed offensive operations. 
But here, too, it must be borne in mind that, although we used 
the word offensive, operations were altogether on a minor scale 
and restricted to local engagements. Some of the heaviest fight- 
ing of this period occurred near the town of Olyka, on the 
Rovno-Brest-Litovsk railroad. Just south of this place repeated 
Austrian attacks were launched against a height held by the 
Russians, both on April 1 and 2, 1916, but they were promptly 
repulsed. 

On April 3, 1916, another attack in that neighborhood, this 
time northeast of Olyka, near the villages of Bagnslavka and 
Bashlyki, also failed to carry the Austrians into the Russian 
trenches. On the same day Austrian attacks were reported 
northwest of Kremenets on the Ikva, along the Lemberg- 
Tarnopol railway and in the vicinity of Bojan. Against all of 
these the Russian troops successfully maintained their positions. 
Austrian aeroplanes continued their bombing expeditions 
against some of the more important places immediately to the 
rear of the Russian front, without, however, inflicting any very 
important damage. 

Again a comparative lull set in. Of course, artillery duels 
as well as continuous fighting between scouting parties and out- 
posts took place even during that period. But attacks in force 
were rare, and then restricted to local points only. The latter 
were made chiefly by the Austrians, but did not lead to anything 
of importance. The official Russian statements report such 
engagements on April 6, 1916, near Lake Sosno, south of Pinsk, 
along the upper Strypa in Galicia, and north of Bojan. On 
April 7, 1916, an Austrian offensive attack attempted with con- 
siderable force on the middle Strypa, east of Podgacie, in 
Galicia, did not even reach the first line of the Russian trenches. 
On April 9, 1916, the Russians captured some Austrian trenches 
in the region of the lower Strypa, and on April 11, 1916, re- 
pulsed Austrian attacks north and south of the railway station 
of Olyka. Once more comparative quiet set in along the 
southern part of the eastern front, broken only by engagements 



138 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

between outposts and by a considerable increase in aeroplane 
activity. 

But on April 13, 1916, the Russians again began to hammer 
away against the Austrian lines. A violent artillery attack waa 
launched against the Austrian positions on the lower Strypa, 
on the Dniester and to the northwest of Czemowitz, and the 
Austrians were forced to withdraw some of their advanced posi- 
tions to their main position northeast of Jaslovietz. Southeast 
of Buczacz an Austrian counterattack failed. A height at the 
mouth of the Strypa, called Tomb of Popoff, fell into the hands 
of the Russian troops. Both Austrian and Russian aeroplanes 
dropped bombs, without however inflicting any serious damage, 
even though the Russians officially announced that as many as 
fifty bombs fell on Zuczka — about half a mile outside of Czerno- 
witz — and on North Czernowitz. 

On April 14, 1916, the Russian artillery attacks on the lower 
Strypa, along the Dniester and near Czemowitz, were repeated. 
Again the Russians launched attacks against the advanced 
Austrian trenches at the mouth of the Strypa and southeast of 
Buczacz. An advanced Russian position on the road between 
that town and Czortkov was occupied by the Austrians. 

For the balance of April, 1916, comparative quiet again ruled 
along the southeastern front. The muddy condition of the roads 
made extensive movements practically impossible. Outposts en- 
gagements, artillery duels, aeroplane bombardments, isolated 
attacks on advanced trenches and field works, of course, contin- 
ued right along. But both success and failure were only of local 
importance, so that the official reports in most cases did not even 
mention the location of these engagements. 

On the last day of April, 1916, however, the army of Arch- 
Duke Joseph Ferdinand started a new strong offensive move- 
ment north of Mouravitzy on the Ikva in Volhynia. Heavy 
and light artillery prepared the way for an attack in consider- 
able force against Russian trenches which formed a salient at 
that point, west of the villages of Little and Great Boyarka. 
The Russians had to give ground, but soon afterward started 
a strong counterattack, supported by heavy artillery fire, and 



AUSTRO-RUSSIAN OPERATIONS 139 

regained the lost ground, capturing some 600 officers and men. 
In the southern half of the eastern front, just as in the north- 
em half, there was little change in the character of fighting with 
the coming of May and the improvement in the weather. Ar- 
tillery duels, aeroplane attacks, scouting expeditions, and local 
infantry attacks of limited extent and strength were daily oc- 
currences. 

On May 1, 1916, Austro-Hungarian detachments were forced 
to withdraw from their advanced positions to the north of the 
village of Mlynow. This place is located on the Ikva River, 
some ten miles northwest of the fortress of Dubno. Here the 
Russians had made a slight gain on April 28, 1916, and when 
they made an attack with superior forces from their newly 
fortified positions, they were able to drive back the Austro- 
Hungarians still a little bit farther. 

Twenty miles farther north, in the vicinity of Olyka, the little 
town about halfway between the fortress of Lutsk and Rovno, 
on the railway line connecting these two points, the Russian 
forces reported slight progress on May 2, 1916. Northwest of 
Kremenets, in the Ikva section, Austro-Hungarian engineers 
succeeded in exploding mines in front of the Russian txenches. 
But the Russians themselves promptly utilized this accomplish- 
ment by rushing out of their trenches and making an advanced 
trench of their own out of the mine craters dug for them by 
their enemies. 

Two days later, on May 4, 1916, the Russians were able to 
improve still more their new positions southeast of Olyka sta- 
tion, and to gain some more ground there. Repeated Austro- 
Hungarian counterattacks were repulsed. The same fate was 
suffered by determined infantry attacks on the Russian trenches 
in the region of the Tarnopol-Pezema railway, in spite of the 
fact that these attacks were made in considerable force and were 
supported by strong artillery and rifle fire. Later the same day 
an engagement between reconnoitering detachments in the same 
region, southwest of Tamopol, resulted in the capture of one 
Russian officer and 100 men by their Austro-Hungarian op- 
ponents. 



140 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Minor engagements jbetween scouting parties and outposts 
were the rule of the day on May 5, 1916. These were especially 
frequent in the region of Tzartorysk on the Styr, just south 
of the Kovel-Kieff railway and south of Olyka station where 
Austro-Hungarian troops were forced to evacuate the woods 
east of the village of Jeruistche. A slight gain was ma^e on 
May 6, 1916, by Russian troops in Galicia, on the lower Strypa 
River, north of the village of Jaslovietz. 

Extensive mining operations, which, of course, were carried 
on at all times at many places, culminated successfully for the 
Russians in the region northwest of Kremenets on the Ikva and 
south of Zboroff on the Tarnopol-Lemberg railway. In the 
latter place Russian troops crept through a mine crater toward 
a point where Austro-Hungarian engineering troops were pre- 
paring additional mines and dispersed the working parties by 
a shower of hand grenades. 

Throughout the balance of May operations along the south- 
ern part of the eastern front consisted of continued artillery 
duels, of frequent aeroplane attacks, and of a series of unim- 
portant though bitterly contested minor engagements at many 
points, most of which had no relation to each other, and were 
either attacks on enemy trenches or attempts at repulsing such 
attacks. Equally continuous, of course, also were scouting ex- 
peditions and mining operations. None of these operations, 
however, yielded any noticeable results for either side, and the 
story of one is practically the story of all. The result of the 
artillery duels frequently was the destruction of some advanced 
trenches, while occasionally a munitions or supply transport was 
caught, or an exposed battery silenced. Mining operations 
sometimes would also lead to the destruction of isolated trenches, 
and thus change slightly the location of the line. But what one 
side gained on a given day was often lost again the next day, 
and the net result left both Germans and Russians at the end 
of May practically where they had been at the beginning. Most 
of these minor engagements occurred in regions that had seen 
a great deal of lighting before. Again and again there appear 
in the official reports such well«]r>own names as Tzartorysk, 



THAW AND SPRING FLOODS 141 

Kolki, Olyka, Kremenets, Novo Alecinez, Styr River, Ikva 
River, Strypa River. Inch by inch abnost this ground, long 
ago drenched with the blood of brave men, was fought over and 
over again — and a gain of a few hundred feet was considered, 
indeed, a gain. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THAW AND SPRING FLOODS 

WITH the coming of thaw and the resulting spring floods 
roads along the eastern front, not any too good under the 
most favorable climatic conditions, had become little else than 
rivers of mud. Many of them, it is true, had been considerably 
improved during the long winter months, especially on the Ger- 
man-Austrian side of the line. But in many instances this im- 
provement consisted simply of covering them with planks in 
order to make it possible to move transports without having 
wheels sink into the mud up to the axles. When the creeks and 
rivers along the line were now suddenly transformed by the 
melting snows into streams and torrents, much of this improve- 
ment was carried aWay and many roads not only sank back into 
their former impossible state, but, becoming thoroughly soaked 
and saturated with water in many places became impassable 
even for infantry. Movements of large masses soon were out of 
the question. To shift artillery, especially of the heavier kind, 
as quickly as an offensive movement required, and to keep both 
guns and men sufficiently supplied with munitions, were out of the 
question. The natural result, therefore, of these conditions was 
the prompt cessation of the Russian offensive which had been 
started in March, 1916, just before the breaking up of a severe 
winter. 

However, this did not mean everywhere a return to the trench 
warfare, such as had been carried on all winter, although in many 
parts of the front activities on both sides amounted to little more. 
At other points, however, offensive movements were kept up» 



142 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

even if they were restricted in extent and force. Throughout 
the months of April and May, 1916, no important changes took 
place anywhere on the eastern front. A great deal of the fight- 
ing, almost all, indeed, was the result of clashes between scouting 
detachments or else simply a struggle for the possession of the 
most advantageous points, involving in most instances only a 
trench here or another trench there, and always comparatively 
small numbers of soldiers. 

Though the story of this series of minor engagements as it can 
be constructed from oflfidal reports and other sources offers few 
thrills and is lacking entirely in the sensational accomplishments 
which mark movements of greater extent and importance, this is 
due chiefly to the fact that few details become known about fight- 
ing of only local character. In spite of this it must be borne in 
mind that all of this fighting was of the most determined kind, 
was done under conditions requiring the greatest amount of 
endurance and courage, and resulted in innumerable individual 
heroic deeds, which, just because they were individual, almost 
always remained unknown to the outside world. 

On April 1, 1916, a German attack against the bridgehead at 
Uxkull was repulsed by Russian artillery. Farther south, in the 
Dvinsk sector German positions were subjected to strong artil- 
lery bombardment at many points, especially at Mechkele, and 
just north of Vidzy. On the following day, April 2, 1916, fighting 
again took place in the Uxkull region. Mines were exploded 
near Novo Selki, south of Krevo, a town just south of the Viliya 
River. The Germans launched an attack north of the Barano- 
vitchy railway station. This is the strategically important vil- 
lage through which both the Vilna-Rovno and the Minsk-Brest- 
Litovsk railways pass and around which a great deal of fighting 
had taken place in the past. Even though this attack was ex- 
tensively supported by aeroplanes, which bombarded a number 
of railway stations on that part of the Minsk-Baranovitchy rail- 
way which was in the hands of the Russians, it was repulsed by 
che Russians. 

April 3, 1916, brought a renewal of the German attacks 
against the Uxkull bridgehead. For over an hour and a half 



THAW AND SPRING FLOODS 143 

artillery of both heavy and light caliber prepared the way for 
this attack. But again the Russian lines held and the Germans 
had to desist. Before Dvinsk and to the south of the fortress 
artillery duels inflicted considerable damage without affecting 
the positions on either side. Just north of the Oginski Canal 
German troops crossed the Shara River and attacked the Rus- 
sian positions west of the Vilna-Rovno railway, without being 
able to gain ground. All along the line aircraft were busily 
engaged in reconnoitering and in dropping bombs on railway 
stations. 

The bombardment of the Uxkull region was again taken up 
on April 4, 1916, by the German artillery. South of Dvinsk, 
before the village of Malogolska, the German troops had to 
evacuate their first-line of trenches when the arising floods of 
neighboring rivers inundated them. German aeroplanes bom- 
barded the town of Luchonitchy on the Vilna-Rovno railway, 
just southeast of Baranovitchy. 

By April 5, 1916, the German artillery Are before Uxkull had 
spread to Riga and Jacobstadt, as well as to many points in the 
Dvinsk sector. Floods were still rising everywhere and the ice 
on the Dvina began to break up. 

Again on April 7, 1916, the German guns thundered against 
the Russian front from Riga down to Dvinsk. Lake Narotch, 
where so many battles had already been fought, again was the 
scene of a Russian attack which resulted in the gain of a few 
advanced German positions. The next day the Germans 
promptly replied with a determined artillery attack which re- 
gained for their side some of the points lost the previous day. 
Artillery duels also were staged near Postavy, in the Jacobstadt 
sector, and at the northernmost end of the line where the Ger- 
man guns bombarded the city of Schlock. 

All day on April 9, 1916, the guns of all calibers kept up their 
death-dealing work along the entire Dvina front, and in the 
Lake district south of Dvinsk. The railway stations at Remer- 
shaf and Dvinsk were bombarded by German aeroplanes, while 
other units of their aircraft visited the Russian lines along the 
Oginski Canal. Both on April 11 and 12, 1916, artillery activity 

j_War St. 5 



144 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

on the Dvina was maintained. A German infantry attack 
against the Uxkull bridgehead, launched on the 11th, failed. 

By this time the ice had all .broken up and the floods had 
stopped rising. In the Pinsk Marshes considerable activity de- 
veloped on both sides by means of boats. A vivid picture of 
conditions as they existed at this time in the Pripet Marshes 
may be formed from the following description from the pen of 
a special correspondent on the staff of the Russian paper 
"Russkoye Slovo'': 

"The marshes," he writes, "have awakened from their winter 
sleep. Even on the paved roads movement is all but impossible ; 
to the right and left everything is submerged. The small river 

S en has become enormously broad; its shores are lost 

in the distance. 

*The marshes have awakened, and are taking their revenge 
on man for having disturbed the ordinary life of Poliessie. But 
however difficult the operation, the war must be continued and 
material obstacles must be overcome. Owing to the enormous 
area covered by water the inhabitants have taken to boat build- 
ing. Sentries and patrols move in boats, reconnoitering parties 
travel in boats, fire on the enemy from boats, and escape in 
boats from the attentions of the German heavy guns. 

"The great marshy basin of the S en and the P 

is full of new boats, which are called 'baidaka.* These 'baidaka' 
are small, constructed to hold three or four men. The boats 
are flat-bottomed and steady. The scouts take the 'baidaka* on 
their shoulders, and as soon as they come to deep water launch 
their craft and row to the other side. Small oars or paddles 
are used, and punting operations are often necessary. 

"On the S en these boats move with great secrecy in 

the night; in the daytime they are hidden in rushes and reeds. 

"It was a foggy day when we decided on making a voyage in 
a 'baidaka.' 'The Germans came very suddenly to this place,' 
said one of my companions. 'Our soldiers are concealed every- 
where.' We decided to row near the forest, so that in case of 
necessity we might gain the shelter of the trees. The silence 
was broken by occasional rifle reports from the direction of 



THAW AND SPRING FLOODS 145 

Pinsk, and a big gun roared now and then. Once a shell flew 
overhead, hissing as it went. But this was very ordinary music 
to us. 

"I was more interested in the intense silence of the marsh, 
for I knew that all this silence was false. Our secret posts 
abounded, and perhaps German scouts were in the vicinity. 
The marsh was full of men in hiding, and the waiting for a 
chance shot was more terrible than a continuous cannonade. 
Our sentinels fired twice close by; we did not know why. The 
shots resounded in the forest. We lay down in our boat and 
hid our heads. It was difficult for us to advance through the 
undergrowth as the spaces between the bushes were generally 
very narrow. We could not row, and we had to punt with our 
oars. 

"We advanced in this fashion half an hour. Then we reached 

a lakelike expanse clear of growth. This is the river S en,' 

I was further informed. The Overmans are on the other side.' 

"I could not see where the 'other side' was. The water spread 
to the horizon and ended only in the purple border of the forest. 
'We must be quiet here,' one whispered. The boat moved along 
the river without a splash, and strange, unaccustomed outlines 
grew up as we proceeded. 'What place is that yonder?' I asked 
my neighbor. Tinsk,' he replied. I felt excited; we were near 
a town that was occupied by the Germans, and I wished that 
boat would turn back. 

"We got into the rushes and moved through the jungle as 
though we were advancing in open water, for the path through 
the rushes had been prepared in the autumn. We advanced in 
this manner forty minutes until we could distinctly hear the 
whistling of steam engines and the bells ringing in the monas- 
tery at Pinsk. It was evident that the monks had remained. 
The kaiser himself was in Pinsk in November,' said one of my 
companions, 'and we knew it. The Germans blew horns all 
over the railway line and sang their national, hymn. In Pinsk 
there was much animation.' 

"A minute or two later the boat stopped and I was told it was 
dangerous to go farther. On the right we could see the out- 



146 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

lines of houses and of the quay at Pinsk, only about a thousand 
paces distant. The town was covered by a thin mist and a faint 
fog was rising from the marsh. 

" 'Thei-e on your left are their heavy guns.' I could see noth- 
ing except some trenches near the quay. 

"We took our leave of Pinsk. The twilight had arrived and 
it was necessary to retire.*' 

Though the ice on the rivers and lakes had well broken up by 
the middle of April, thaw, of course, steadily increased, and with 
it the volume of water carried by the creeks and rivers. More 
and more difficult it became, therefore, to carry out military 
operations, and, as a result of these conditions, they were es- 
pecially limited at this period. 

In spite of this the Russians attempted local advance on April 
13, 1916, in the region of Garbunovka, northwest of Dvinsk and 
south of Lake Narotch; however, though their losses were quite 
heavy, they could not gain any ground. This was also true of 
another local attack made against the army of Prince Leopold 
of Bavaria near Zirin, on the Servetsch River northeast of 
Baranovitchy. Similarly unsuccessful were German attacks 
made the same day between Lakes Sventen and Itzen. German 
artillery still kept up its work along the entire front, especially 
at Lake Miadziol, south of Dvinsk at Lake Narotch, and at Smor- 
gon, the little railroad station south of the Viliya River on the 
Vilna-Minsk railway. 

On the following day, April 14, 1916, the Russians repeated 
their efforts in the Servetsch region. After strong artillery 
preparation they launched another attack near Zirin, and south- 
east of Kovelitchy, but were again repulsed. The same fate 
was suffered by an attack attempted northwest of Dvinsk. 
South of Garbunovka, however, they registered a slight local 
success. After cutting down four lines of barbed-wire obstacles 
that had been erected by the Germans, they stormed and occu- 
pied two small hills west and south of this village. This gain 
was maintained in the face of strongly concentrated artillery 
and rifle fire, and repeated German counterattacks, which later 
proved very sanguinary to the German troops. German artillery; 



THAW AND SPRING FLOODS 147 

again directed violent fire against the Russian positions be- 
tween Lake Narotch and Lake Miadziol and near Smorgon. A 
German attack made northwest of the latter village broke down 
under Russian gunfire. 

At this point the Germans resumed their offensive at day- 
break on April 15, 1916, after strong artillery preparation 
accompanied by the use of asphyxiating gas. Concentrated fire 
from the Russian artillery, however, prohibited any noticeable 
advance. During the following day, April 16, 1916, both sides 
restricted themselves more or less to artillery bombardments, 
which became especially violent on the Dvina line, around the 
Uxkull bridgehead, and in the neighborhood of the Russian 
positions south of the village of Garbunovka, as well as between 
Lake Narotch and Lake Miadziol. 

Two days later, on April 18, 1916, German detachments tem- 
porarily regained some of the ground lost about a week before 
south of Garbunovka. Again on that day the guns on both 
sides roared along the entire northern sector of the eastern 
front. On the 19th the bombardment became especially intense 
at the bridgehead at Uxkull and south of lake. 

The artillery attack against the former was maintained 
throughout the following two days. German scouting parties 
which crossed the river Shara, north of the Oginski Canal, on 
April 22, 1916, were surrounded in the woods adjoining and 
practically annihilated. On the same day a German squadron 
of ten aeroplanes bombarded the Russian hangars on the island 
of Oesel, a small island in the Baltic across the entrance to the 
Gulf of Riga. 

As if both sides had agreed to observe the Easter holidays, 
a lull set in during the next four or five days. Only occasional 
unimportant local attacks and artillery duels were reported. 
Aeroplanes were the only branch of the two armies which 
showed any marked activity. Dvinsk was visited repeatedly by 
German machines and extensively bombarded. On April 26, 
1916, a German airship dropped bombs on the railway station 
at Duna-Muende, at the mouth of the Dvina, and caused con- 
siderable damage. Other railway stations and warehouses at 



148 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

various points, a« well as a number of Russian flying depots, 
were attacked on April 27, 1916. 

The end of April, 1916, brought one more important action, 
the most important, indeed, which had occurred anywhere on 
the eastern front since the Russian offensive of the latter half 
of March, 1916. On April 28, 1916, at dawn, German artillery 
began a very violent bombardment of the Russian positions 
south of Lake Narotch. There, between the village of Stava- 
rotche and the extensive private estate of Stakhovtsy, the Ger- 
mans had lost a series of important trenches on March 20, 1916, 
during the early part of the short Russian offensive. Part of 
these positions had been recaptured a few days later on March 
26, 1916. Now, after a considerable artillery preparation, a 
strong attack was launched with the balance of the lost ground 
as an objective. Large bodies of German infantry came on 
against the Russian positions in close formation. They recap- 
tured not only all of the ground lost previously but carried their 
attack successfully into the Russian trenches beyond. The most 
fierce hand-to-hand fighting resulted. Losses on both sides were 
severe, especially so on the part of the Russians, who attempted 
unsuccessfully during the night following to regain the lost 
positions by a series of violent counterattacks, executed by large 
forces of infantry, who, advancing in close formation over diffi- 
cult ground, were terribly exposed to German machine-gun fire 
and lost heavily in killed and wounded. The Germans officially 
claimed to have captured as a result of this operation the re- 
markably large num,ber of fifty-six officers, 5,600 men, five guns, 
twenty-eight machine guns and ten trench mortars. During 
the same day artillery attacks were directed against Schlock on 
the Gulf of Riga and Boersemnende near Riga, as well as against 
Smorgon, south of the Lake district. An infantry attack, pre- 
ceded by considerable artillery preparation, near the village 
of Ginovka, west of Dvinsk, was met by severe fire from the 
Russian batteries and the Germans were forced to withdraw 
to their trenches. In the early morning hours German airships 
bombarded railway stations along the Riga-Petrograd railroad 
as far as Venden, about fifty miles northeast of Riga, and along 



ARTILLERY DUELS 149 

the Dvinsk-Petrograd railway as far as Rzezytsa, about fifty 
miles northeast of Dvinsk. At the latter point considerable 
damage was done by a dirigible which dropped explosive and 
incendiary bombs. 

Throughout the last day of April) 1916, artillery duels were 
fought again at many points. Once more the railway station 
and bridgehead at Uxkull was made the target for a most 
violent German artillery attack. Along the Dvinsk sector, too, 
guns of all caliber were busy. 



CHAPTER XIX 

ARTILLERY DUELS 

WITH the .beginning of May, the weather became warmer 
and the rain and watersoaked roads more accessible. In 
spite of this, however, conditions along the eastern front 
throughout the entire month of May were very much the same 
as during April. Continuously the guns on both sides thundered 
against each other, with a fairly well-maintained intensity 
which, however, would increase from time to time in some 
places. Frequently, almost daily, infantry attacks, usually pre- 
ceded by artillery preparation, would be launched at various 
points. These, however, were almost all of local character and 
executed by comparatively small forces. Even smaller detach- 
ments, frequently hardly more than scouting parties, often 
would reach the opponent's lines, but only rarely succeed in 
capturing trenches, and then usually were soon forced to retire 
to their own lines in the face of successive counterattacks. Again 
in May the story of events on the eastern front is lacking in sensa- 
tional movements, accompanied by equally unsensational success 
or failure. But, nevertheless, it is on both sides a story of un- 
ceasing activity, of unending labor, of unremitting toil, of 
endless suffering, of unlimited heroism, and of unsurpassed 
courao;e, the more so, because much of all that was accomplished 



150 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

was counted only as part of the regular daily routine, and lacked 
both the incentive and the reward of widespread publicity^ 
which more frequently attaches to military operations of more 
extensive character. Not for years to come will it be possible 
to write a detailed history of this phase of the Great War as far 
as the eastern front is concerned. Not until the regimental 
histories of the various Russian, German and Austro-HungariaK 
military units will have been completed will it become prac- 
ticable to recount all the uncounted deeds of valor accomplished 
by heroes whose names and deeds now must remain unknown 
to the world at large, even though both perchance have beeiT 
for months and months on the lips of equally brave comrades 
in arms. 

The new month was opened by the Germans with another 
intensive artillery bombardment of the Uxkull bridgehead. 
Farther to the south, before Dvinsk, and also at many points 
in the Lake district to the south of this fortress, the Russian 
positions likewise were raked by violent gunfire. An attempted 
offensive movement on the extreme northern end of the line 
before Raggazem, on the Gulf of Riga, broke down before the 
Russian gunfire, even before it was fully developed. German 
naval airships successfully bombarded Russian military depots 
at Perman, while another squadron of sea planes inflicted con- 
siderable damage to the Russian aerodrome at Papenholm. \ 
Russian squadron was less successful in an attack on the German 
naval establishment at Vindau on the east shore of the Baltic 
Sea. 

May 2, 1916, brought a continuation of artillery activity at 
many points. It was especially intensive in the Jacobstadt and 
Dvinsk sectors of the Dvina front, as well as in the Ziriu- 
Baranovitchy sector in the south and along the Oginski Canal, 
still farther to the south. At two other points the Germans^ 
after extensive artillery preparation, attempted to launch in- 
fantry attacks, but were promptly driven back. This occurred 
near the village of Antony, ten miles northwest of Postavy^ 
where two successive attacks failed, and farther north in the 
region east of Vidzy. 



I 



ARTILLERY DUELS 151 

The following day again was devoted to artillery duels at 
many points. Aeroplanes, also, became more active. German 
planes bombarded many places south of Dvinsk, and attacked 
the railway establishments at Molodetchna, on the Vilna-Minsk 
railway, at Minsk, and at Luniniets, in the Pripet Marshes, east 
of Pinsk on the Pinsk-Gomel railway. May 4, 1916, brought 
especially intensive artillery fire along the entire Dvina front, 
in the Krevo sector south of the Vilna-Minsk railway, and along 
the Oginski Canal, particularly in the region of Valistchie. 

The Dvina front along its entire length was once more the 
subject of a violent artillery attack from German batteries on 
May 5, 1916. Uxkull, so many times before the aim of the Ger- 
man fire, again received special attention. The Friedrichstadt 
sector, too, came in for its share. All along this front aero- 
planes not only guided the gunfire, but supported it extensively 
by dropping bombs. Between Jacobstadt and Dvinsk a Russian 
battery succeeded in reaching a German munition depot and 
with one well-placed hit caused havoc among men and muni- 
tions. Southeast of Lake Med a surprise attack, carried out 
by comparatively small Russian forces, resulted in the capture 
of some German trenches. Northwest of Krochin strong Ger- 
man forces, after artillery preparation lasting over three hours, 
attacked the village of Dubrovka. Some ground was gained, 
only to be lost again shortly after as a result of a ferocious 
counterattack made by Russian reenforcements which had been 
brought up quickly. 

May 6, 1916, brought a slightly new variation in fighting. 
Russian torpedo boats appeared in the Gulf of Riga, off the west 
coast, and bombarded, without success, the two towns of Rojen 
and Margrafen. Artillery fire of considerable violence marked 
the next day, May 7, 1916. Russian batteries before Dvinsk 
caused a fire at 111, the little town just northwest of Dvinsk on 
the Dvinsk-Ponevesh railway, and so well was this bombard- 
ment maintained that the Germans were unable to extinguish 
the conflagration before it had reached some of their munition 
depots. In the early morning hours very violent gunfire was 
directed south of lUuxt. But an infantry attack, for which this 



152 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

bombardment was to act as preparation, failed. Other bombard- 
ments were directed against Lake Ilsen and the sector north of 
it, and against the region south of the village of Vishnieff on the 
Beresina River. Mining operations of considerable extent were 
carried out that night near the village of Novo Selki, south of 
the town of Krevo. On May 8, 1916, artillery fire again roared 
along the Dvina front, especially against the Uxkull bridge- 
head. An attack in force was made by German troops against 
the village of Peraplianka north of Smorgon on the Viliya 
May 9, 1916. After considerable artillery preparation the Ger- 
mans rushed up against the Russian barbed-wire obstacles. 
There, however, they were stopped by concentrated artillery and 
rifle fire and, after heavy losses, had to withdraw. A Russian at- 
tack of a similar nature south of Garbunovka was not any more 
successful. In the Pripet Marshes, too, artillery operations had 
by now become possible again and the Russian positions west 
of the village of Pleshichitsa, southeast of Pinsk, were subjected 
to a violent bombardment. 

Throughout the balance of May not a day passed during 
which guns of all calibers did not maintain a violent bombard- 
ment at many points along the entire front. Especially fre- 
quent and severe was the gunfire which the Germans directed 
against the Dvina sector of the Russian positions. But, just 
as in the past weeks, the result, though not at all negligible as 
far as the damage inflicted on men, material, and fortifications 
was concerned, was practically nil in regard to any change in 
the location of the front. 

Infantry attacks during this period were not lacking, though 
they were less frequent than artillery bombardments, and were 
at all times only of local character, and in most cases executed 
with limited forces. A great deal of this kind of fighting oc- 
curred in the region of Olyka where engagements took place 
almost every day. One of the few more important events was 
a German attack against the Jacobstadt sector of the Dvina 
front. For two days. May 10 and 11, 1916, the fighting con- 
tinued, becoming especially violent to the north of the railway 
station of Selburg on the Mitau-Kreutzburg railway. There 



ARTILLERY DUELS 153 

very heavy artillery fire succeeding the infantry attacks had 
destroyed some small villages for the possession of which the 
most furious kind of hand-to-hand fighting ensued. Finally 
the Germans captured by storm about 500 yards of the Russian 
positions as well as some 300 unwounded soldiers and a few 
machine guns and mine throwers. 

Engagements of a similar character, though not always yield- 
ing such definite results to either side, occurred on May 11, 
1916, southwest of Lake Medum, on May 12, 1916, at many 
points along the Oginski Canal and also in the Pripet Marshes, 
where fighting now had again become a physical possibility. 
On the latter day a Russian attempt to recapture the positions 
lost previously near Selburg failed. 

Thus the fortunes of war swayed from side to side. One day 
would bring to the Germans the gain of a trench, the capture 
of a few hundred men or guns, or the destruction of an enemy 
battery, to .be followed the next day by a proportionate loss. 
So closely was the entire line guarded, so strongly and elabor- 
ately had the trenches and other fortifications been built up, 
that the fighting developed into a multitude of very short but 
closely contested engagements. In each one of these the num- 
bers engaged were very small, though the grand total of men 
fighting on a given day at so many separate points on a front 
of some 500 miles was, of course, still immense. 

Amongst the places which saw the most fighting during this 
period were many which had been mentioned a great many 
times before. Again and again there appeared in the official 
records such names as: Lake Sventen, Krevno, Lake Miadziol, 
Ostroff, Lake Narotch, Smorgon, Dahlen Island, and many 
others. 

The net result of all the fighting during May, 1916, was that 
both sides lost considerable in men and material. Both Rus- 
sians and Germans, however, had succeeded in maintaining 
their respective lines in practically the same position in which 
they had been at the beginning of May. 



154 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

CHAPTER XX 

THE GREAT RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE 

TOURING the first two days of June, 1916, a lull occurred at 
■*-^ almost all important points of the eastern front. Only one 
or two engagements of extremely minor importance between 
scouting parties were reported. In the light of future events 
this remarkable condition might well be called ominous, es^ 
pecially if one connects with it a decided increase in Russian 
aeroplane activity, which resulted in two strong attacks on June 
1, 1916, against points on the Vilna-Minsk and Samy-Kovel 
railways. 

On June 2, 1916, a more or less surprising increase in the 
strength of the Russian artillery fire was noticed, especially 
along the Bessarabian and Volhynian fronts and in the Ikva 
sector. So strong did this fire become that the official Austrian 
statement covering that day says that at several places the 
artillery duels "assumed the character of artillery battles." 

More and more the extent and violence of the Russian ar- 
tillery attack increased. The next day, June 3, 1916, Russian 
artillery displayed the greatest activity all along the southern 
half of the eastern front, and covered the Dniester, Strypa, and 
Ikva sectors, as well as the gap between the last two rivers, 
northwest of Tarnopol, and the entire Volhynian front. 
Near Olyka in the region of the three Volhynian fortresses o( 
Rovno, Dubno, and Lutsk, the Russian gunfire was especially 
intense along a front of about seventeen miles. That this un- 
usually strong artillery activity increased the alarm of the 
Austro-Hungarian commanders may readily be seen from the 
concluding sentence of that day's official Austrian statement, 
which read : "Everywhere there are signs of an impending in- 
fantry attack." 

The storm oegan to break the next day, June 4, 1916. That 
it was entirely unexpected, was not likely, for this new Russian 
offensive coincided with the Austro-Hungarian offensive against 



I 



THE GREAT RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE 155 

the Italian front which by that time had assumed threatening 
developments. Undoubtedly it was one of the objects of the 
Russian offensive to force the Austrians to withdraw troops 
from the Italian front and at least curtail their offensive efforts 
against the Italian armies, if not to stop them entirely. At the 
same time the limits within which the Russian offensive was 
undertaken indicated that the Russian General Staff had 
another much more important object in view, the breaking of 
the German-Austrian front at about the point where the Ger- 
man right touched the Austrian left. Along a front of over 300 
miles the Russian forces attacked. From the Pinth in the 
south — at the Rumanian border to the outrunners of the Pripet 
Marshes — near Kolki and the bend of the Styr — in the north the 
battle raged. At many points along this line the Russians 
achieved important successes, with unusual swiftness they were 
pushing whatever advantage they were able to gain. But not 
only swiftness did they employ. Immense masses of men were 
thrown against the strongly fortified Austrian lines and quanti- 
ties of munitions of the Russian artillery which transcended 
everything that had ever been done along this line on the east- 
em front. Not against one or two points chosen for that 
particular purpose, but against every important point on the 
entire line the Russian attacks were hurled. The most bitter 
struggle developed at Okna, northwest of Tamopol, at Koklow, 
at Novo Alexinez, along the entire Ikva, at Sanor, around Olyka 
and from there north to Dolki. No matter how strong the 
natural defenses, no matter how skillful the artificial obstacles, 
on and on rolled the thousands and thousands of Russians. So 
overwhehning was this onrush that the Austro-Hungarians had 
to give way in many places in spite of the most valiant resist- 
ance, and so quick did it come that as a result of the first day's 
work the Russians could claim to have captured 13,000 prison- 
ers, many guns and machine guns. 

By June 5, 1916, this number had increased to 480 officers, 
25,000 men, twenty-seven guns and fifty machine guns. The 
battle on the northeast front continued on the whole front of 
218 miles with undiminished stubbornness. North of Okna, 



156 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

the Austrians had, after stiff and fluctuating battles, to with- 
draw their shattered first positions to the line prepared three 
miles to the south. Near Jarlowiec, on the lower Strypa, the 
Russians attacked after artillery preparation. They were re- 
pulsed at some places by hand fighting. At the same time a 
strong Russian attack west of Trembowla (south of Tamopol) 
broke down under Austrian fire. West-northwest of Tarnopol 
there was bitter fighting. Near Sopanow (southeast of Dubno) 
there were numerous attacks by the enemy. Between Mlynow, 
on the Ikva, and the regions northwest of Olyka, the Russians 
were continually becoming stronger, and the most bitter kind of 
fighting developed. 

Especially heavy fighting developed in the region before 
Lutsk. There the pressure from the Russian army of General 
Brussilov had become so strong that the Austrians had found 
it necessary by June 6, 1916, to withdraw their forces to the 
plain of Lutsk, just to the east of that fortress and of the river 
Styr. This represented a gain of at least twenty miles made 
in two days. The official Russian statement of that day claimed 
that during the same period General Brussilov's armies had cap- 
tured 900 officers, more than 40,000 rank and file, seventy-seven 
guns, 134 machine guns and forty-nine trench mortars, and, in 
addition, searchlights, telephone, field kitchens, a large quantity 
of arms and war material, and great reserves of ammunition. 

On the other hand, the Austrians were still offering a de- 
termined resistance at most points south and north of Lutsk, 
and Russian attacks were repulsed with sanguinary losses at 
many places, as for instance at Rafalowka, on the lower Styr, 
near Berestiany, on the Corzin Brook, near Saponow, on the 
npper Strypa, near Jazlovice, on the Dniester, and on the Bessa- 
rabian frontier. Northwest of Tarnopol were repulsed two 
Attacks. At another point seven attacks were repulsed. 

The Russians also suffered heavy losses in the plains of Okna 
(north of the Bessarabian frontier) and at Debronoutz, where 
there were bitter hand-to-hand engagements. 

It was quite clear by this time that the Russian offensive 
threatened not only the pushing back of the Austrian line, but 



THE GREAT RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE 



157 



■SCALE QF MILES 

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POSITIOIN OF COMMANDERS 

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PRINCE LEOPOLD 
ARMV 




THE RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE FROM PINSK TO DUBNO 



158 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

their very existence. Unless the Austrians either succeeded in 
repulsing the Russians decidedly or else found some other way 
of reducing immediately the strength of this extensive offensive 
movement, it was inevita.ble that many of the important con- 
quests which the Central Powers had made in the fall of 1915 
would be lost again. In spite of this and in spite of the quite 
apparent strength of the Russian forces, it caused considerable 
surprise when it was announced officially on June 8, 1916, that 
the fortress of Lutsk had been captured by the Russians on 
June 7, 1916. 

The fortress lies halfway between Rovno and Kovel, on the 
important railway line that runs from Brest-Litovsk to the 
region southwest of Kiev. It is this railway sector, between 
Rovno and Kovel, that has been the objective of the Russian 
attacks ever since the Teuton offensive came to a standstill eight 
months ago, for its control would give the Russians a free hand 
to operate southward against the lines in Galicia. 

Lutsk is a minor fortress, the most westerly of the Volhynian 
triangle formed by Rovno, Dubno, and Lutsk. The town is the 
center of an important grain trade, and the districts of which it 
is the center contained before the war a considerable German 
colony. It is supposed to have been founded in the seventh 
century. In 1791 it was taken by Russia. It is the seat of a 
Roman Catholic bishop and at the outbreak of the war had a 
population of about 18,000. During the war it suffered a varied 
fate. On September 1, 1915, it was captured by the combined 
German and Austro-Hungarian forces which had accomplished 
a month before the capture of Warsaw and had forced the Rus- 
sian legions to a full retreat. Twenty-three days later it was 
evacuated by the forces of the Central Powers and recaptured 
by the Russians on September 24, 1915. Four days later, Sep- 
tember 28, 1915, the Russians were forced to withdraw again, 
and on October 1, 1915, it fell once more into the hands of the 
Austrians. During the winter the Russians had made a dash 
for its recapture, but had not succeeded, and ever since the front 
had been along a line about twenty miles to the east. The cap- 
ture of the fortress was due primarily to the immensity of the 



THE GREAT RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE 159 

Russian artillery, which maintained a violent, continuous fire, 
(smashing the successive rows of wire entanglements, breastworks, 
and trenches. The town was surrounded with nineteen rows of 
entanglements. The laconic order to attack was given at dawn 
on June 7, 1916. Up to noon the issue hung in the balance, but 
at 1 o'clock the Russians made a breach in the enemy's position 
near the village of Podgauzy. They repulsed a fierce Austrian 
counterattack and captured 3,000 prisoners and many guns. 
Almost simultaneously another Russian force advanced on 
Lutsk along the Dubno and stormed the trenches of the village 
of Krupov, taking several thousand prisoners. General Brus- 
silov seemed to have at his disposal an immense infantry force, 
which he sent forward in rapid, successive waves after artillery 
preparation. Reserves were brought up so quickly that the 
enemy was given no time to recover from one assault before 
another was delivered. 

Fifty-eight officers, 11,000 men and large quantities of guns, 
machine guns, and ammunition fell in the hands of the victorious 
Russian armies. On the same day on which Lutsk was captured 
other forces stormed strong Austrian positions on the lower 
Strypa in Galicia between Trybuchovice and Jazlovice and 
crossed both the Ikva and the Styr. Along the northern part 
of the front, north of the Pripet River, comparative quiet 
reigned throughout the early stages of the Russian offensive. 
During the evening of June 7, 1916, however, German artillery 
violently bombarded the region northeast of Krevo and south of 
Smorgon, southeast of Vilna. The bombardment soon extended 
farther north, and during the night of June 8, 1916, the Ger- 
mans took the offensive there with considerable forces. 

In the neighborhood of Molodetchna station (farther east) on 
the Vilna-Minsk railway, a German aeroplane dropped four 
bombs. 

Five German aeroplanes carried out a raid on the small town 
of Jogishin, north of Pinsk, dropping about fifty bombs. 

The battle in Volhynia and Galicia continued with undimin- 
ished force on June 8, 1916. Near Sussk, to the east of Lutsk, 
a squadron of Cossacks attacked the enemy behind his fortified 

K—WaE^i 



160 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

lines, capturing two guns, eight ammunition wagons, and 200 
boxes of anmiunition. 

Near Boritin, four miles southeast of Lutsk, Russian scouts 
captured two 4-inch guns, with four officers and 160 men. A 
4-inch gun and thirty-five ammunition wagons were captured, 
near Dobriatin on the Ikva below Mlynow, fourteen miles south- 
east of Lutsk. 

Young troops, just arrived at the front, vied with seasoned 
Russian regiments in deeds of valor. Some regiments formed 
of Territorial elements by an impetuous attack drove back the 
Austrians on the Styr, and pressing close on their heels forced 
the bridgehead near Rozhishche, thirteen miles north of Lutsk, 
at the same time taking about 2,500 German and Austrian pris- 
oners, as well as machine guns and much other booty. Other 
regiments forced a crossing over the Strypa and some advanced 
detachments even reached the next river, the Zlota Potok, about 
five miles to the west. 

The number of prisoners captured by the Russians continually 
increased. Exclusive of those already reported — ^namely, 958 
officers, and more than 51,000 Austrian and German soldiers, 
they captured in the course of the fighting on June 8, 1916, 185 
officers and 13,714 men, making the totals so far registered in 
the present operations 1,143 officers and 64,714 men. 

The next day, June 9, 1916, the troops under General Brussilov 
continued the offensive and the pursuit of the retreating Aus- 
trians. Fighting with the latter's rear guards, they crossed the 
river Styr above and below Lutsk. 

In Galicia, northwest of Tamopol, in the regions of Gliadki 
and Cebrow, heavy fighting developed for the possession of 
heights, which changed hands several times. During that day's 
fighting the Russians captured again large numbers of Aus- 
trians, consisting of ninety-seven officers and 5,500 men and 
eleven guns, making a total up to the present of 1,240 officers 
and about 71,000 men, ninety-four guns, 167 machine guns, 
fifty-three mortars, and a large quantity of other war material. 

At dawn of June 10, 1916, Russian troops entered Buczacz 
on the west bank of the Strypa and, developing the offensive 



THE GREAT RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE 161 

along the Dniester, carried the village of Scianka, eight miles 
west of the Strypa. In the village of Potok Zloty, four miles 
west of the Strypa, they seized a large artillery park and large 
quantities of shells. 

In the north the Germans again attempted to relieve the 
pressure on their allies by attacking in force at many points. 
Artillery duels were fought along the Dvina front and on the 
Oginski Canal. 

Without let up, however, the Russian advance continued. So 
furious and swift was the onslaught of the czar's armies that 
the Austrians lost thousands upon thousands of prisoners and 
vast masses of war material of every kind. For instance, in 
one sector alone the Austrians were forced to retreat so rapidly 
that the Russians were able to gather in, according to official 
reports, twenty-one searchlights, two supply trains, twenty- 
nine field kitchens, forty-seven machine guns, 193 tons of 
barbed wire, 1,000 concrete girders, 7,000,000 concrete cubes, 
160 tons of coal, enormous stores of ammunition, and a great 
quantity of arms and other war material. In another sector 
they captured 80,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, 300 boxes of 
machine-gun ammunition, 200 boxes of hand grenades, 1,000 
rifles in good condition, four machine guns, two optical range 
finders, and even a brand-new Norton well, a portable con- 
trivance for the supply of drinking water. 

The prisoners captured during June 10, 1916, comprised one 
general, 409 officers, and 35,100 soldiers. The material booty 
included thirty guns, thirteen machine guns, and five trench 
mortars. The total Russian captures in the course of about a 
week thus amount to one general, 1,649 officers, more than 106,- 
000 soldiers, 124 guns of all sorts, 180 machine guns, and fifty- 
eight trench mortars. 

This was now the seventh day of the new Russian offensive, 
and on it another valuable prize fell into the hands of General 
Brussilov, the town and fortress of Dubno. This brought his 
forces within twenty-five miles of the Galician border and put 
the czar's forces again in the possession of the Volhynian for- 
tress triangle, consisting of Lutsk, Dubno, and Rovna 



162 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Dubno, which had been in the hands of the Austrians since 
September 7, 1916, lies on the Rovno-Brody-Lemberg rail- 
way, and is about eighty-two miles from the Galician capital, 
Lemberg. The town has about 14,000 inhabitants, mostly 
Jews, engaged in the grain, tobacco, and brickmaking industry. 
It was in existence as early as the eleventh century. 

So powerful was the Russian onrush on Dubno that the 
attackers swept westward apparently without meeting any re- 
sistance, for on the same day on which the fortress fell, some 
detachments crossed the Ikva. One part of these forces even 
swept as far westward as the region of the village of Demidovka, 
on the Mlynow-Berestetchko road, thirteen miles southwest of 
the Styr at Mlynow, compelling the enemy garrison of the 
Mlynow to surrender. Demidovka is twenty-five miles due west 
of Dubno. Thus the Russians have in Volhynia alone pushed 
the Austro-Hungarian lines back thirty-two miles. 



CHAPTER XXI 



THE RUSSIAN RECONQUEST OP THE 
BUKOWINA 

SIMULTANEOUSLY with the drive in Volhynia, the extreme 
left wing of the Russian southern army under General Le- 
chitsky forced the Austro-Hungarians to withdraw their whole 
line in the northeastern Bukowina, invaded the crownland with 
strong forces and advanced to within fourteen miles of the 
capital, Czemowitz. On the Strypa the Austrians had to fall 
back from their principal position north of Buczacz. In spite of 
the most desperate resistance and in the face of a violent flank- 
ing fire, and even curtain fire, and the explosions of whole sets 
of mines. General Lechitsky's troops captured the Austrian po- 
sitions south of Dobronowce, fourteen miles nortri&ast of Czer- 
nowitz. In that region alone the Russians claimed to have cap- 
tured 18,000 soldiers, one general, 347 officers, and ten guns. 



RUSSIAN RECONQUEST OF BUKOWINA 163 

Southeast of Zaleszcyki on the Dniester the Russians again 
were victorious and forced the withdrawal of the Austrian lines. 
Fourteen miles north of Czemowitz the Austrian troops tried to 
stem the tide by blowing up the railroad station of Jurkoutz. 
At the same time they made their first imporant counterattack 
in the Lutsk region. Making a sudden stand, after being driven 
over the river Styr, north of Lutsk, they turned on the Russians 
with the aid of German detachments rushed to them by General 
von Hindenburg, drove the Muscovite troops back over the Styr 
and took 1,508 prisoners, including eight officers. At other 
points, too, the Austrian resistance stiffened perceptibly, espe- 
cially in the region of Torgovitsa, and on the Styr below Lutsk. 

Dubno, a modem fortress, built, like Lutsk, mainly in support 
of Rovno, to ward off possible aggression, now supplied an 
(excellent starting point for a Russian drive into the heart of 
Galicia. Proceeding on both sides of the Rovno-Dubno-Brody* 
Lemberg railway the Russians should be able to cover the eighty- 
two miles which still separates them from the Galician capital 
within a comparatively short time, provided that Austrian resis- 
tance in this region continues as weak as it has been up to date. 

A greater danger than the capture of Lemberg was, however, 
presented by the Russian advance into the Bukowina. If these 
two Russian drives — to Lemberg and to Czemowitz — would 
prove successful the whole southeastern Austro-Hungarian army 
would find itself squeezed between two Russian armies, and its 
only escape would be into the difficult Carpathian Mountain 
passes, where the Russians, this time well equipped and greatly 
superior in numbers, could be expected to be more successful 
than in their first Carpathian campaign. 

Still the Russian advance continued, although on June 11, 
1916, there was a slight slowing down on account of extensive 
storms that prevailed along the southern part of the front. 

In Galicia, in the region of the villages of Gliadki and Vero- 
bieyka, north of Tarnopol, the Austrians attacked repeatedly 
and furiously, but were repulsed on the morning of the 11th. 
Farther south, however, near the town of Bobulintze, on the 
Strypa, fifteen miles north of Buczacz, the Austro-Hungarians, 



164 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

strongly reenforced by Germans, scored a substantial success. 
They launched a furious counterattack, bringing the Russian 
assaults to a standstill and even forcing the Muscovite troops 
to retreat a short distance. According to the German War Office 
more than 1,300 Russian prisoners were taken. 

Simultaneously with this partial relief in the south Field 
Marshal von Hindenburg began an attack at several points 
against the Russian right wing and part of the center. He pene- 
trated the czar's lines at two points near Jacob&tadt, halfway 
between Riga and Dvinsk, and at Kochany between Lake Narotch 
and Dvinsk. At the three other points, in the Riga zone, south 
of Lake Drisviaty and on the Lassjolda, his attacks broke down 
under the Russian fire. 

Lemberg, Galicia's capital, was now threatened from three 
sides. Czemowitz, the capital of the Bukowina, was even in a 
more precarious position. It had been masked by the extreme 
left wing of the Russian armies and, unless some unexpected 
turn came to the assistance of the Austrians, its fall was sure 
to be only a matter of days, or possibly even of hours. All of 
southern Volhynia had been overrun by the Russians who were 
then, on the ninth day of their offensive, forty-two miles west 
of the point from where it had begun in that province. 

Northwest of Rojitche, in northwestern Volhynia, after dis- 
lodging the Germans, General Brussilov on June 12, 1916, ap- 
proached the river Stokhod. West of Lutsk he occupied Torchin 
and continued to press the enemy back. 

On the Dniester sector and farther General Lechitsky's troops, 
having crossed the river after fighting, captured many fortified 
points and also the town of Zaleszcyky, twenty-five miles north- 
west of Czernowitz. The village of Jorodenka, ten miles farther, 
northwest of Zaleszcyky, also was captured. 

On the Pruth sector, between Doyan and Niepokoloutz, the 
Russian troops approached the left bank of the river, near the 
bridgehead of Czemowitz. 

The only point at which the Austrian line held was near Kolki 
In northern Volhynia, south of the Styr. There attempts by the 
Eussians to cross that river failed and some 2,000 men were 



RUSSIAN RECONQUEST OF BUKOWINA 165 

captured by the Austro-Hungarians. In the north Field Marshal 
?on Hindenburg's efforts to divert the Russian activities in the 
south by a general offensive along the Dvina line had not de- 
veloped beyond increased artillery bombardments which appar- 
ently exerted no influence on the movements of the Russian 
armies in Volhynia, Galicia and the Bukowina. 

The only hopeful sign for the fate of the threatened Austro- 
Hungarian armies was the fact that the daily number of pris- 
oners taken by the Russians gradually seemed to decrease, indi- 
cating that the Austrians found it possible by now, if not to 
withstand the Russian onslaught, at least to save the largest part 
of their armies. Even at that the Russian General Staff claimed 
to have captured by June 12, 1916, a total of 1,700 officers and 
114,000 men. Inasmuch as it was estimated that the total Aus- 
trian forces on the southwestern front at the beginning of the 
operations were 670,000, of which, according to Russian claims, 
the losses cannot be less than 200,000, including an estimated 
80,000 killed and wounded, the total losses now constituted 30 
per cent of the enemy's effectives. 

How the news of the continued Russian successes was received 
in the empire's capital and what, at that time, was expected aa 
the immediate results of this remarkable drive, secondary only 
to the Austro-German drive of the summer and fall of 1915, 
are vividly described in the following letter, written from Petro- 
grad on June 13, 1916, by a special correspondent of the London 
"Times" : 

"As the successive bulletins recording our unprecedented vic- 
tories on the southwestern fronts come to hand, the pride and 
joy of the Russian people are becoming too great for adequate 
expression. There is an utter absence of noisy demonstrations. 
The whole nation realizes that the victory is the result of the 
combined efforts of all classes, which have given the soldiers 
abundant munitions, and of an admirable organization. 

"The remarkable progress in training the reserves since the 
beginning of this year was primarily responsible for the enor- 
mous increase in the efficiency of our armies and the heightening 
of their morale. The strategy of our southwestern offensive has 



166 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

been seconded by a remarkable improvement in the railways and 
communications. Last, but not least, it must be noted that the 
Russian high command long ago recognized that the essential 
condition of the overthrow of the Austro-German league, so far 
as this front is concerned, was the completion of the work of 
disintegration in the Austrian armies, in which Russia has al- 
ready achieved such wonderful results. At the rate at which 
they are at present being exterminated it would require many 
weeks completely to exhaust the military resources of the Dual 
Empire and to turn the flank of the German position in Poland. 

"The consensus of military opinion is inclined to the belief that 
the Germans will not venture to transfer large reenforcements 
to the Galician front, as it would require too much time and give 
the Allies a distinct advantage in other theaters. But as the 
Germans were obviously bound to do something to save the Aus- 
trian army, they are endeavoring to create a diversion north of 
the Pripet in various directions. The points selected for these 
efforts are almost equidistant on the right flank of the Riga 
front, near Jacobstadt, and south of Lake Drisviaty, where the 
enemy's maximum activity synchronized with General Lechit- 
sky's greatest successes on the southern front. . . . 

"On the southwestern front all eyes are now focused on Gen- 
eral Lechitsky's rapid advance on Zaleszcyky and Czemowita. 
As the official reports show, the Austrians have already blown up 
a bridge across the Pruth at Mahala, thus indicating that they en- 
tertain scant hope of being able to hold Czemowitz,.and they may 
even now be evacuating the city. General Lechitsky's gallant 
army, which some months ago stormed the important stronghold 
of Uscieszko on the Dniester, has performed prodigies of valor in 
its advance during the last few days. The precipitous banks of 
the Dniester had been converted into one continuous stronghold 
which appeared impregnable and last December defied all our 
efforts to overcome the enemy's resistance. In the first few days 
of the offensive we took one of the principal positions between 
Okna and Dobronowce, southeast of Zaleszcyky. Dobronowce 
and the surrounding mountains, which are thickly covered with 
forests, were regarded by the enemy as a reliable protection 



RUSSIAN RECONQUEST OF BUKOWINA 167 

against any advance on Czernowitz. The country beyond offers 
no such opportunities for defense. 

''General Brussilov's operations on the flanks of the Austro- 
German army under Von Linsingen are proceeding with won- 
derful rapidity. All the efforts of German reenforcements to 
drive in a counterwedge at Kolki, Rozhishshe and Targowica, 
at the wings and apex of our Rovno salient, proved ineffectual. 
On the other hand, we have scored most important successes west 
of Dubno, capturing the highly important point of Demidovka, 
marking an advance of twenty miles to the west. Demidovka 
places us in command of the important forest region of Dubno, 
which, as its name indicates, is famous for its oak trees. These 
forests form a natural stronghold, of which the Ikva and the 
Styr may be compared to immense moats protecting it on two 
sides. The possession of this valuable base will enable General 
Brussilov to checkmate any further effort on the part of the 
enemy to counter our offensive at Targowica, which is situated 
fifteen miles to the north. 

"The valiant troops of our Eighth Army, who have altogether 
advanced nearly thirty miles into the enemy's position in the 
direction of Kovel, will doubtless be in a position powerfully to 
assist the thrust of the troops beyond Tarnopol and join hands 
with them in the possible event of an advance on Lemberg." 

On June 13, 1914, the progress of the Russian armies continued 
along the entire 250-mile front from the Pripet River to the 
Rumanian border. The capture of twenty officers, 6,000 men, 
six cannon, and ten machine guns brought the total, captured by 
the Russian troops, up to about 120,000 men, 1,720 officers, 130 
cannon and 260 machine guns, besides immense quantities of 
material and munitions. 

South of Kovel the Austrians, reenforced by German troops, 
offered the most determined resistance near the village of Zaturzi 
halfway between Lutsk and Vladimir- Volyn«ki. Southwest of 
Dubno, in the direction of Brody and Lemberg, Kozin was stormed 
by the Russians, who were now only ten miles from the Galician 
border. To the north of Buczacz, on the right bank of the 
Strypa, a strong counterattack launched by the Austrians could 



168 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

not prevent the Russians from occupying the western heights in 
the region of Gaivivonka and Bobulintze, where only two days 
before the Austrians had been able to drive back their oppo- 
nents. But the most furious battle of all raged for the possession 
of Czemowitz. A serious blow was struck to the Austro-Hun- 
garian defenders when the Russians captured the town of 
Sniatyn, on the Pruth, about twenty miles northwest of Czer- 
nowitz, on the Czemowitz-Kolomea-Lemberg railway. This seri- 
ously threatened the brave garrison which held the capital of 
the Bukowina, as it put the Russians in a position where 
they could sweep southward and cut off the defenders of Czer- 
nowitz, if they should hold out to the last. In fact the entire 
Austro-Hungarian army in the Bukowina was now facing this 
peril. 

The first massed attack against Von Hindenburg's lines since 
the offensive in the south began was delivered on June 18, 1916, 
when, after a systematic artillery preparation by the heaviest 
guns at the Russians' disposal, troops in dense formation 
launched a furious assault against the Austro-German positions 
north of Baranovitchy. The attack was repeated six times, but 
each broke down under the Teuton fire with serious losses to the 
attackers, who in their retreat were placed under the fire of 
their own artillery. 

Baranovitchy is an important railway intersection of great 
strategical value and saw some of the fiercest fighting during 
the Russian retreat in the fall of 1915. It is the converging 
point of the Brest-Litovsk-Moscow and Vilna-Rovno railways. 
Sixty-one miles to the west lies Lida, one of the commanding 
points of the entire railway systems of western Russia. 

Again, on June 14, 1916, the number of prisoners in the hands 
of the Russians was increased by 100 officers and 14,000 men, 
bringing the grand total up to over 150,000. All along the entire 
front the Russians pressed their advance, gaining considerable 
ground, without, however, achieving any success of great im- 
portance. 

Closer and closer the lines were drawn about Czemowitz, 
though on June 16, 1916, the city was still reported as held by 



RUSSIAN RECONQUEST OF BUKOWINA 169 

the Austrians. On that day furious fighting also took place 
south of Buczacz, where the Russians in vain attempted to cross 
the Dniester in order to join hands with their forces which were 
advancing from the north against Czemowitz with Horodenka, 
on the south bank of the Dniester as a base. To the west of 
Lutsk in the direction toward Kovel, now apparently the main 
objective of General Brussilov, the Austro-Hungarians had re- 
ceived strong German reenforcements under General von Lin- 
singen and successfully denied to the Russians a crossing over 
the Stokhod and Styr Rivers. 

June 17, 1916, was a banner day in the calendar of the Rus- 
sian troops. It brought them once more into possession of the 
Bukowinian capital, Czemowitz. 

Czemowitz is one of the towns whose people have suffered most 
severely from the fluctuating tide of war. 

Its cosmopolitan population, the greater part of whom are 
Germans, have seen it change hands no less than five times in 
twenty-one months. The first sweep of the Russian offensive in 
September, 1914, carried beyond it, but they had to capture it 
again two months later, when they proceeded to drive the Aus- 
trians out of the whole of the Bukowina. By the following Feb- 
ruary, however, the Austrians, with German troops to help 
them, were again at its gates, and they forced the Russians to 
retire beyond the Pruth. For a week the battle raged about the 
small town of Sudagora, opposite Czemowitz, the seat of a fa- 
mous dynasty of miracle-working rabbis, but the forces of the 
Central Powers were in overwhelming numbers, and with the 
loss of Kolomea — ^the railway junction forty-five miles to the 
west, which the Russians were again rapidly approaching — 
the whole region became untenable and the Russians retired to 
the frontier. 

Czemowitz is a clean and pleasant town of recent date. A 
century ago it was an insignificant village of 5,000 people. To- 
day it has several fine buildings, the most conspicuous of which is 
the Episcopal Palace, with a magnificent reception hall. In one 
of the squares stands the monument erected in 1875 to commem- 
orate the Austrian occupation of the Bukowina. 



170 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

The population consists for the most part of Germans, Rw- 
thenes, Rumanians, and Poles. Among these are 21,000 Jews 
and there are also a number of Armenians and gypsies. Witk 
all these diverse elements, therefore, the town presents a very 
varied appearance, and on market days the modern streets are 
crowded with peasants, attired in their national dress, who 
mingle with people turned out in the latest fashions of Paris 
and Vienna. 

How violently the Russians assaulted Czemowitz is vividly 
described in a letter from a correspondent of a German news- 
paper who was at Czernowitz during this attack. 

"The attack began on June 11, 1916. Shells fell incessantly, 
mostly in the lower quarter of the town and the neighborhood 
of the station. They caused a terrible panic. Incendiary shells 
started many fires. 

"Austrian artillery replied vigorously. The Russians during 
the night of June 12, 1916, attempted a surprise attack aga'inst 
the northeast corner defenses, launching a tremendous artillery 
fire against them and then sending storming columns forward. 
These were stopped, however, by the defenders, who prevented 
a crossing of the Pruth, inflicting severe losses upon the 
Russians. 

"The Russian artillery attack on the morning of June 16, 1916, 
was terrific. It resembled a thousand volcanoes belching fire. 
The whole town shook. Austrian guns replied with equal inten- 
sity. The Russians advanced in sixteen waves and were mown 
down and defeated. Hundreds were drowned. Russian columns 
were continually pushed back from the Pruth beyond Sudagora.*' 

Serious, though, this loss was to the Central Powers, they had 
one consolation left. JBefore the fall of Czemowitz the Austro- 
Hungarian forces were able to withdraw and only about 1,000 
men fell into Russian captivity. In one respect then the Rus- 
sians had not gained their point. The Austrian army in the 
Bukowina was still in the field. 

Slowly but steadily the force of Von Hindenburg's offensive 
in the north increased. On the dry on which Czernowitz fell at- 
tacks were delivered at mar'^'- points along the 150-mile line be- 



RUSSIAN RECONQUEST OF BUKOWINA 171 

tween Dvinsk in the north and Krevo in the south. Some local 
successes were gained by the Germans, but generally speaking 
this offensive movement failed in its chief purpose, namely, to 
lessen the strength of the Russian attack against the Austrian 
lines. 

A more substantial gain was made by the combined German 
and Austro-Hungarian forces, opposing the Russians west of 
Lutsk, in order to stop their advance against Kovel. There the 
Germans drove back the center of General Brussilov's front and 
captured 3,500 men, 11 officers, some cannon, and 10 machine 
guns. 

On the day of Czernowitz's fall the official English newspaper 
representative with the Russian armies of General Brussilov se- 
cured a highly interesting statement from this Russian general 
who, by his remarkable success, had so suddenly become one of 
the most famous figures of the great war. 

"The sweeping successes attained by my armies are not the 
product of chance, or of Austrian weakness, but represent the 
application of all the lessons which we have learned in two years 
of bitter warfare against the Germans. In every movement, great 
or small, that we have made this winter, we have been studying 
the best methods of handling the new problems which modern 
warfare presents. 

"At the beginning of the war, and especially last summer, we 
lacked the preparations which the Germans have been making 
for the past fifty years. Personally I was not discouraged, for 
my faith in Russian troops and Russian character is an enduring 
one. I was convinced that, given the munitions, we should do 
exactly as we have done in the past two weeks. 

"The main element of our success was due to the absolute 
coordination of all the armies involved and the carefully planned 
harmony with which the various branches of the service sup- 
ported each other. 

"On our entire front the attack began at the same hour and it 
was impossible for the enemy to shift his troops from one quarter 
to another, as our attacks were being pressed equally at all 
points. 



172 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"The most important fighting has been in the sector between 
Rovno, and here we have made our greatest advances, which are 
striking more seriously at the strategy of the whole enemy front 
in the east. 

"If we are able to take Kovel there is reason to believe that 
the whole eastern front will be obliged to fall back, as Kovel 
represents a railway center which has been extraordinarily use- 
ful for the intercommunications of the Germans and Austrians. 

"That this menace is fully realized by the enemy is obvious 
from the fact that the Germans are supporting this sector with 
all the available troops that can be rushed up. Some are coming 
from the west and some from points on the eastern front to the 
north of us. 

"In all of this fighting the Russian infantry has proved itself 
sujperb, with a morale which is superior even to that of 1914, 
when we were sweeping through Galicia for the first time. This 
is largely due to the fact that the army now represents the feel- 
ing of the whole people of Russia, who are united in their desire 
to carry the war to its final and sutcessful conclusion." 

To the question how he had been able to make such huge cap- 
tures of prisoners the Russian general replied: 

'•'The nature of modem trenches, which makes them with their 
deep tunnels and maze of communications, so difficult to destroy, 
renders them a menace to their own defenders once their posi- 
tion is taken in rear or flank, for it is impossible to escape 
quickly from these elaborate networks of defenses. 

"Besides, we have for the first time had sufficient ammunition 
to enable us to use curtain fire for preventing the enemy from 
retiring from his positions, save through a scathing zone of 
shrapnel fire, which tenders surrender imperative." 



IN CONQUERED EAST GALICIA 173 

CHAPTER XXII 

IN CONQUERED EAST GALICIA 

ANOTHER very interesting account of conditions along the 
'-southeastern front can be found in a letter from the Petro- 
grad correspondent of a London daily newspaper, who spent 
considerable time in Tarnopol, a city which had been in the hands 
of the Russians ever since the early part of the war: 

"We are in Austria here, but no one who was plumped down 
into Tarnopol, say from an aeroplane, would ever guess it. Not 
only are the streets full of Russian soldiers: all the names on 
the shop fronts are in Russian characters. The hotels have 
changed their styles and titles. The notices posted up in public 
places are Russian. Everywhere Russian (of a kind) is talked. 
German, the official language of Austria, is neither heard nor 
seen. 

"It is true that this part of Galicia has been in the possession 
of Russia since the early days of the war. Even so, it is a 
surprise to find a population so accommodating. 

"The people in this part of Austria are Poles, Ruthenes and 
Jews. Polish belongs to the same family of languages as Rus- 
sian, and the Poles are Slavs. So are the Ruthenes, whose speech 
is almost identical with that of southwestern Russia. They are 
very like the 'Little' Russians, so called to distinguish them 
from the people of 'Great* Russia on the north. They live in 
the same neat, thatched and whitewashed cottages. They have 
the same gayly colored national costumes still in wear, and the 
same fairy tales, the same merry lilting songs, so different from 
the melancholy strains of northern folk music. Almost the same 
religion. 

"The finest churches in Tarnopol belong to the Poles, who are 
Roman Catholics. The Russian soldiers, many of them, seem 
to find the Roman mass quite as comforting as their Orthodox 
rite. They stand and listen to it humbly, crossing themselves in 
eastern fashion, only caring to know that God is being wor- 



174 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

shiped in more or less the same fashion as that to which they 
are accustomed. But in the Ruthenian churches they find ex- 
actly the same ritual as their own. With their blood relations 
they are upon family terms. There was an interesting exhibi- 
tion in Petrograd last year illustrating the Russian racial traits 
in the Ruthenian population. Down here one recognizes these 
at once. 

"No clearer proof could be found of the gentle, kindly char- 
acter of the Russians than the attitude toward them of the 
Austrian Slavs generally. At a point close to the firing line, 
early this morning, I saw three Austrian prisoners who had 
been 'captured' during the night. They had, in point of fact, 
given themselves up. They were Serbs from Bosnia, and they 
were quite happy to be in Russian hands. I saw them again 
later in the day on their way to the rear, sitting by the road- 
side smoking cigarettes which their escort had given them. Cap- 
tives and guardians were on the best of terms. 

"The only official evidences of occupation which I noticed 
are notices announcing that restaurants and cafes close at 11, 
and that there must be no loud talking or playing of instruments 
in hotels after 10 — an edict for which I feel profoundly grateful. 
Signs of peaceful penetration are to be found everywhere. The 
samovar (urn for making tea) has become an institution in 
Galician hotels. The main street is pervaded by small boys sell- 
ing Russian newspapers or making a good thing out of cleaning 
the high Russian military 'sapogee' (top boots). They get five 
cents for a penny paper and ninepence or a shilling for boot- 
blacking, but considering the mud of Galicia (I have been up 
to my boot tops — ^that is, up to my knees — in it), the charge 
is not too heavy, especially if the unusual dearness of living be 
taken into account. 

"Very gay this main street is of an afternoon, crowded with 
officers, who come in from the trenches to enjoy life. A very 
pleasant Jot of young fellows they are, and very easily pleased. 
One I met invited me to midday tea in his bombproof shelter in 
a forward trench. I accepted gratefully and found him a charm- 
ingly gay host. He took a childlike pleasure in showing me all 



IN CONQUERED EAST GALICIA 



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176 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

the conveniences he had fitted up, and kept on saying, *Ah, how 
comfortable and peaceful it is here,' with the sound of rifle 
shots and hand grenade and mine explosions in our ears all the 
time. 

"From highest to lowest, almost all the Russian officers I have 
met are friendly and unassuming. The younger ones are de- 
lightful. There is no drink to be had here, and therefore no 
foolish, tipsy loudness or quarreling among them.'* 

On June 18, 1916, further progress and additional large cap- 
tures of Austro-Hungarian and German prisoners were reported 
by the Russian armies fighting in Volhynia, Galicia, and the 
Bukowina. However, both the amount of ground gained and 
the number of prisoners taken were very much slighter than 
\iad been the case during the earlier part of the Russian of- 
fensive. This was due to the fact that the armies of the Central 
Powers had received strong reenforcements and had apparently 
succeeded in strengthening their new positions and in stiffening 
their resistance. Powerful counterattacks were launched at 
many points. 

One of these, according to the Russian official statement, was 
of special vigor. It was directed against General Brussilov's 
armies which were attempting to advance toward Lemberg, in the 
region of the village of Rogovitz to the southwest of Lokatchi, 
about four miles to the south of the main road from Lutsk to 
Vladimir- Volynski. There the Austro-Hungarian forces in large 
numbers attacked in massed formation and succeeded in break- 
ing through the Russian front, capturing three guns after all 
the men and officers in charge of them had been killed. The 
Russians, however, brought up strong reenforcements and made 
it necessary for the Austro-Hungarians to withdraw, captur- 
ing at the same time some hundred prisoners, one cannon, and 
two machine guns. 

At another point of this sector in the region of Korytynitzky, 
southeast of Svinioukhi, a Russian regiment, strongly supported 
by machine-gun batteries, inflicted heavy losses on the Austro- 
Hungarian troops and captured four officers, a hundred soldiers, 
and four machine guns. 



IN CONQUEKED EAST GALICIA 177 

South of this region, just to the east of BorohofF, a desperate 
fight developed for the possession of a dense wood near the vil- 
lage of Bojeff, which, after the most furious resistance, had to be 
cleared finally by the Austro-Hungarian forces, which, during this 
engagement, suffered large losses in killed and wounded, and fur- 
thermore lost one thousand prisoners and four machine guns. 

At still another point on this part of the front, just south of 
Radziviloff, a Russian attack was resisted most vigorously and 
heavy losses were inflicted on the attacking regiments. Here, as 
well as in other places, the Austro-Hungarian-German forces 
employed all possible means to stem the Russian onrush, and 
a large part of the losses suffered by General Brussilov's regi- 
ments was due to the extensive use of liquid fire. 

The troops of General Lechitsky's command, after the occu- 
pation of Czernowitz, crossed the river Pruth at many points 
and came frequently in close touch with the rear guard of the 
retreating Austro-Hungarian army. During the process of these 
engagements, about fifty officers and more than fifteen hundred 
men, as well as ten guns, were captured. Near Koutchournare, 
four hundred more men and some guns of heavy caliber, as well 
as large amounts of munitions fell into the hands of the Russian 
forces. The latter claimed also at this point the capture of im- 
mense amounts of provisions and forage, loaded on almost one 
thousand wagons. At various other points west and north of 
Czernowitz, large quantities of engineering material had to be 
left behind at railroad stations by the retreating Austro-Hun- 
garian army and thus easily became the booty of the victorious 
Russians. 

Farther to the north, along the Styr, to the west of Kolki, in 
the region of the Kovel-Rovno Railway, General von Linsingen's 
Austro-German army group successfully resisted Russian at- 
tacks at some points, launched strong counterattacks at other 
points, but had to fall back before superior Russian forces at 
still other points. 

In the northern sector of the eastern front, along the Dvina, 
activity was restricted to extensive artillery duels during this 
day. 



178 - THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

CHAPTER XXIII 

THE GERMAN C U NT E RO PPE N S I VE 
BEFORE KOVEL 

AN extensive offensive movement was developed on June 19, 
-1916, by General von Linsingen. The object of this move- 
ment apparently was not only to secure the safety of Kovel, but 
also to threaten General Brussilov's army by an enveloping 
movement which, if it had succeeded, would not only have pushed 
the Russian center back beyond Lutsk and even possibly Dubno, 
but would also have exposed the entire Russian forces, fighting in 
Galicia and the Bukowina, to the danger of being cut off from 
the troops battling in Volhynia. This movement developed in 
the triangle formed by the Kovel-Raf alovka railroad in the north, 
the Kovel-Rozishtchy railroad in the south, and the Styr River 
between these two places. The severest fighting in this sector 
occurred along the Styr between Kolki and Sokal. 

On the other hand Russians scored a decided success in the 
southern comer of the Bukowina where a crossing of the Sereth 
River was successfully negotiated. ' 

Artillery duels again were fought along the Dvina front as 
well as along the Dvina- Vilia sector. In the latter region a num- 
ber of engagements took place south of Smorgon, near Kary and 
Tanoczyn, where German troops captured some hundreds of 
Russians as well as four machine guns and four mine throwers. 
A Russian aeroplane was compelled to land west of Kolodont, 
south of Lake Narotch, while German aeroplanes successfully 
bombarded the railroad station at Vileika on the Molodetchna- 
Polotsk railway. 

With ever increasing fury the battle raged along the Styr 
River on the following day, June 20, 1916. Both sides won local 
successes at various points, but the outstanding feature of that 
day's fighting was the fact that in spite of the most heroic efforts 
the Russian troops were unable to advance any farther toward 
Kovel. Ten miles west of Kolki the Russians succeeded in cross- 



COUNTEROFFENSIVE BEFORE KOVEL 179 

of Gruziatin, two miles north of Godomitchy, the small German 
garrison of which, consisting of some five hundred officers and 
men, fell into Russian captivity. Only a short time later, on the 
same day,, heavy German batteries concentrated such a furious 
fire on the Russian troops occupying the village that they had to 
withdraw and permit the Germans once more to occupy Gru- 
ziatin. How furious the fighting in this one small section must 
have been that day may readily be seen from the fact that the 
German official statement claimed a total of over twenty thou- 
sand men to have been lost by the Russians. 

Hardly less severe was the fighting which developed along the 
Stokhod River. This is a southern tributary of the Pripet River, 
joining it about thirty miles west of the mouth of the Styr. It 
is cut by both the Kovel-Rovno and the Kovel-Rafalovka rail- 
ways, and forms a strong natural line of defense west of Kovel. 
In spite of the most desperate efforts on the part of large Russian 
forces to cross this river, near the village of Vorontchin north- 
east of Kieslin, the German resistance was so tenacious that the 
Russians were unable to make any progress. Large numbers of 
guns of all calibers had been massed here and inflicted heavy 
losses to the czar's regiments. Another furious engagement in 
this region occurred during the night near the village of Ray- 
niesto on the Stokhod River. 

To the north heavy fighting again developed south of Smorgon, 
where, with the coming of night, the Germans directed a very 
intense bombardment against the Russian lines. Again and 
again this was followed up with infantry attacks, which in some 
instances resulted in the penetrating of the Russian trenches, 
while in others it led to sanguinary hand-to-hand fighting. How- 
ever, the Russian batteries likewise hurled their death-dealing 
missiles in large numbers and exacted a terrific toll from the 
ranks of the attacking Germans. Along the balance of the north- 
em half of the front a serious artillery duel again was fought, 
which was especially intense in the region of the Uxkull bridge- 
head, in the northern sector of the Jacobstadt positions and along 
the Oginsky Canal. 

German aeroplane squadrons repeated their activity of the 



180 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

day before and successfully bombarded the railroad stations at 
Vileika, Molodetchna, and Zalyessie. 

The well-known English journalist, Mr. Stanley Washburn, 
acted at this time as special correspondent of the London *Times" 
at Russian headquarters and naturally had exceptional oppor- 
tunities for observing conditions at the front. Some of his de- 
scriptions of the territory across which the Russians* advance 
was carried out, as well as of actual fighting which he observed 
at close quarters, therefore, give us a most vivid picture of the 
difficulties under which the Russian victories were achieved and 
of the tenacity and courage which the Austro-German troops 
showed in their resistance. 

Of the Volhynian fortress of Lutsk, as it appeared in the 
second half of June, 1916, he says : 

"This town to-day is a veritable maelstrom of war. From not 
many miles away, by night and by day, comes an almost uninter- 
rupted roar of heavy gunfire, and all day long the main street 
is filled with the rumble and clatter of caissons, guns, and trans- 
ports going forward on one side, while on the other side is an 
unending line of empty caissons returning, mingled with 
wounded coming back in every conceivable form of vehicle, and 
in among these at breakneck speed dart motorcycles carrying 
dispatches from the front. 

"The weather is dry and hot, and the lines of the road are 
visible for miles by the clouds of dust from the plodding feet 
3f the soldiery and the transport. As the retreat from Warsaw 
was a review of the Russian armies in reverse, so is Lutsk to-day 
a similar spectacle of the Muscovite armies advancing ; but now 
all filled with high hopes and their morale is at the highest 
pitch. 

"Along the entire front the contending armies are locked in a 
fierce, ceaseless struggle. No hour of the day passes when there 
is not somewhere an attack or a counterattack going forward 
with a bitterness and ferocity unknown since the beginning of 
the war. The troops coming from Germany are rendering the 
Russian advance difficult, and the general nature of the fighting 
is defense by vigorous counterattacks." 



COUNTEROFFENSIVE BEFORE KOVEL 181 

Of the fighting along the Kovel front he says : "The story of 
the fighting on the Kovel front is a narrative of a heroic advance 
which at the point of the bayonet steadily forced back through 
barrier after barrier the stubborn resistance of the Austrians, 
intermingled occasionally with German units, till at one point 
the advance measured forty-eight miles. 

"After two days spent on the front I can state without any 
reservation that I believe that the Russians are engaged in the 
fiercest and most courageous fight of their entire war, hanging 
on to their hardly won positions and often facing troops con- 
centrated on the strategic points of the line outnumbering them 
sometimes by three to one. 

"I spent Thursday at an advanced position on the Styr, where 
the Russian troops earlier forced a crossing of the river, facing 
a terrific fire, and turning the enemy out of his positions at the 
point of the bayonet. In hurriedly dug positions offering the 
most meager kind of shelter, the Russians in one morning 
drove back four consecutive Austrian counterattacks. Each left 
the field thickly studded with Austrian dead, besides hundreds 
of their wounded who had been left. 

"From an observation point in the village I studied the ground 
of the day's fighting, and though familiar with Russian courage 
and tenacity, I found it difficult to realize that human beings had 
been able to carry the positions which the Russians carried here. 

"I was obliged to curtail my study of the enemy's lines and 
of the position on account of the extremely local artillery fire, 
the shells endeavoring to locate our observation point, which 
was evidently approximately known. At any rate, two shells 
bursting over us and one narrowly missing our waiting carriage, 
besides three others falling in the mud almost at our feet, 
prompted our withdrawal. Fortunately the last three had fallen 
in the mud and did not explode. 

"Along this front the Russians are holding against heavy odds, 
but they are certainly inflicting greater losses than they are 
receiving. 

"The next day I spent at the Corps and Divisional Head- 
quarters west of the Kovel road. The forward un^ts of this corps 



182 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

represent the maximum point of our advance, and the Russians* 
most vital menace to the enemy, as is obvious from the numbers 
of Germans who are attacking here in dense masses, v^ithout 
so far seriously impairing the Russian resistance. 

"After spending three days on this front motoring hundreds 
of versts, and inspecting the positions taken by the Russians, 
their achievement becomes increasingly impressive. The first 
line taken which I have inspected represents the latest practice in 
field works, in many ways comparing with the lines which I saw 
on the French front. The front line is protected by five or six 
series of barbed wire, with heavy front line trenches, studded 
with redoubts, machine-gun positions, and underground shelters 
twenty f«eet deep, while the reserve positions extend in many 
places from half a mile to a mile in series behind the first 
line, studded with communication trenches, shelters, and bomb- 
proofs. 

"It must not be thought that the Austrians offered only a feeble 
resistance, for I inspected one series of trenches where, I was 
informed, the Russians in a few versts of front buried 4,000 
Austrian dead on the first lines alone. This indicates the nature 
and tenacity of the enemy resistance. I am told also that far 
fewer Slavs and Poles have been found among the Austrians 
than in any other big action. It is believed that most of these 
have been sent to the Italian front on account of their tendency 
to surrender to the Russians. 

"Another interesting point about their advance is the fact 
that the Russians practically in no place used guns of the heaviest 
caliber, and that the preliminary artillery fire in no place lasted 
above thirty hours, and in many places not more than twelve 
hours. 

"Last summer's experience is not forgotten by the Russians 
and there has probably been the most economic use of ammuni- 
tion on any of the fronts in this war commensurate with the 
results during these advances. Rarely was a hurricane fire di- 
rected on any positions preceding an assault, but the artillery 
checked each shell and its target, which was rendered possible 
by the nearness of our front lines. 



PROGRESS OF BUKOWINIAN CONQUEST 183 

"In this way avenues were cut through the barbed wire at 
frequent intervals along the line through which the attacks were 
pressed home and the flanking trenches and the labyrinths were 
taken in the rear or on the flanks before the Austrians were able 
to effect their escape. The line once broken was moved steadily 
forward, taking Lutsk six days after the first attack, and one 
division reaching its maximum advance of forty-eight miles just 
ten days after the first offensive movement." 



CHAPTER XXIV 



PROGRESS OF THE BUKOWINIAN 
CONQUEST 

/^N June 21, 1916, the Russians gained another important 
^^ victory by the capture of the city of Radautz, in the southern 
Bukowina, eleven miles southwest of the Sereth River, and less 
than ten miles west of the Rumanian frontier. This river Sereth 
must not be confused with a river of the same name further to 
the north in Galicia. The latter is a tributary of the Dniester, 
while the Bukowinian Sereth is a tributary of the Danube, 
which latter it joins near the city of Galatz, in Rumania, after 
flowing in a southeasterly direction through this country for 
almost two hundred miles. 

The fall of Radautz was an important success for various rea- 
sons. In the first place, it brought the Russian advance that 
much nearer to the Carpathian Mountains. In the second place, 
it gave the invading armies full control of an important railway 
running in a northwesterly direction through the Bukowina. 
This railway was of special importance, because it is the northern 
continuation of one of the principal railroad lines of Rumania 
which, during its course in the latter country, runs along the west 
bank of the Ser6th River. 

In Galicia, General von Bothmer's army successfully resisted 
strong Russian attacks along the Hajvoronka-Bobulinze line, 
north of Przevloka, 



184 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Without cessation the furious fighting in the Kolki-Sokal sec- 
tor on the Styr River continued. There General von Lin- 
singen's German reenforcements had strengthened the Austro- 
Hungarian resistance to such an extent that it held against all 
Russian attempts to break through their line in their advance 
toward Kovel. 

The same condition existed on the Sokal-Linievka line, 
where the Russian forces had been trying for the best part 
of a week to force a crossing of the Stokhod River, the only 
natural obstacle between them and Kovel. Further south, west 
of Lutsk, from the southern sector of the Turiya River down to 
the Galician border near the town of Gorochoff, the Teutonic 
forces likewise succeeded in resisting the Russian advance. This 
increased resistance of the Teutonic forces found expression, 
also, in a considerable decrease in the number of prisoners taken 
by the Russians. 

Along the northern half of the front. Field Marshal von Hin- 
denburg renewed his attacks south of Dvinsk. South of Lake 
Vishnieff, near Dubatovka, German troops, after intense ar- 
tillery preparation, stormed a portion of the Russian trenches, 
but could not maintain their new positions against repeated 
ferocious counterattacks carried out by Russian reenforcements. 
Near Krevo, the Germans forced a crossing over the River 
Krevlianka, but were again thrown back to its west bank by 
valiant Russian artillery attacks. 

The Russian advance in the Bukowina progressed rapidly 
on June 22, 1916. Three important railroad towns fell into 
their hands, on that day, of the left wing of the Russian army, 
Gurahumora in the south, Straza in the center, and Vidnitz in 
the northwest. Gurahumora lies fifty miles south of Czerno- 
witz, and is situated on the only railway in the southern part 
of the crownland. The town is ten miles from the Russian bor- 
der. Straza lies a few miles east of the western terminal of 
the Radautz-Frasin railway. Its fall indicates a Russian ad- 
vance of eighteen miles since the capture of Radautz. Vidnitz 
is on the Galician border, a few miles south of Kuty, and twenty- 
five miles southwest of Czernowitz. 



PROGRESS OF BUKOWINIAN CONQUEST 185 

In spite of these successes, however, it became clear by this 
time that the Russian' attempt to cut off the Austrian army fight- 
ing in the Bukowina had miscarried. Each day yielded a smaller 
number of prisoners than the preceding day. The main 
pai-t of the Austro-Hungarian forces had safely reached the foot- 
hills of the Carpathians, while other parts farther to the north 
had succeeded in joining the army of General von Bothmer. 

In Galicia and Volhynia the Teutonic forces continued to 
resist successfully all Russian attempts to advance, even though 
there was not the slightest let-up in the violence of the Russian 
attack. 

Along many other points of the front, more or less important 
engagements took place, especially so along the Oginsky Canal, 
where the Russians suffered hea\y losses. Von Hindenburg's 
troops in the north also were active again, both in the Lake dis- 
trict south of Dvinsk, and along the Dvina sector from Dvinsk 
to Riga. 

Once more a Russian success was reported in the Bukowina 
on June 23, 1916. West of Sniatyn the Russian troops advanced 
to the Rybnitza River, occupying the heights along its banks. 
Still further west, about twenty miles south of the Pruth River, 
the town of Kuty, well up in the Carpathian Mountains, was 
captured. Kuty is about forty miles west of Czernowitz, just 
across the Galician border and only twenty miles almost due 
south from the important railroad center Kolomea, itself about 
one-third the distance from Czernowitz to Lemberg on the main 
railway between these two cities. 

A slight success was also gained on the Rovno-Dubno-Brody- 
Lemberg railway. A few miles northeast of Brody, just east of 
the Galician-Russian border, near the village of Radziviloff , Rus- 
sian troops gained a footing in the Austro-Hungarian trenches 
and captured a few hundred prisoners. Later that day, how- 
ever, a concentrated artillery bombardment forced them to give 
up this advantage and to retire to their own trenches. 

In Volhynia the German counterattacks against General Brus- 
silov's army extended now along the front of almost eighty 
miles, stretching from Kolki on the Styr River to within a few 



186 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

miles of the Galician border near Gorochoff. Along part of 
this line, General von Linsingen's forces advanced on June 23, 
1916, to and beyond the line of Zubilno-Vatyn-Zvinatcze, and 
repulsed a series of most fierce counterattacks launched by the 
Russians which caused the latter serious losses in killed, wounded, 
and prisoners. The country covered by these engagements is 
extremely difficult, impeded by woods and swamps, and a great 
deal of the fighting, therefore, was at close quarters, especially 
so near the town of Tortchyn, about fifteen miles due west of 
Lutsk. Other equally severe engagements occurred near Zu- 
bilno and southeast of Sviniusky, near the village of Pustonyty. 

In the north, the Russians took the offensive in the region of 
Illuxt, on the Dvina, and in the region of Vidzy, north of 
the Disna River. Although successful in some places, the Ger- 
man resistance was strong enough to prevent any material gain. 
German aeroplanes attacked and bombarded the railway sta- 
tions at Kolozany, southwest of Molodetchna, and of Puniniez. 

West of Sniatyn, Russian troops, fighting as they advanced, 
occupied the villages of Kilikhoff and Toulokhoff on June 24, 
1916. 

Late on the preceding evening, June 23, 1916, the town of 
Kimpolung was taken after intense fighting. Sixty officers and 
2,000 men were made prisoners and seven machine gun3 were 
captured. In the railway station whole trains were captured. 

With the capture of the towns of Kimpolung, Kuty and Viznic, 
the whole Bukowina was now in the hands of the Russians. So 
hurried had been the retirement of the Austro-Hungarian forces 
that they left behind eighty-eight empty wagons, seventeen 
wagons of maize, and about 2,500 tons of anthracite, besides 
structural material, great reserves of fodder and other material. 

On the Styr, two miles south of Sminy, in the region of Czar^ 
torysk, the Russians, by a sudden attack, took the redoubt of a 
fort whose garrison, after a stubborn resistance, were all put 
to the bayonet. 

North of the village of Zatouritzky, the German-Austrian 
forces assumed the offensive, but were pushed back by a counter- 
attack, both sides suffering heavily in the hand-grenade fighting. 



PROGRESS OF BUKOWINIAN CONQUEST 187 

North of Poustomyty, southeast of Sviusky (southwest of 
Lutsk), the Germans attacked Russian Hnes, but were received 
by concentrated fire, and penetrated as far as the Russian 
trenches in only a few points, where the trenches had been vir- 
tually destroyed by the preparatory artillery fire. 

German artillery violently bombarded numerous sectors of the 
Riga positions. A strong party of Germans attempted to ap- 
proach Russian trenches near the western extremity of Lake 
Babit, but without result. 

On the Dvina, between Jacobstadt and Dvinsk, German ar- 
tillery was also violently active. German aeroplanes dropped 
twenty bombs on the station at Polochany southwest of Molo- 
detchna. 

Oi. June 25, 1916, there was again intense artillery fire in many 
sectors in the regions of Jacobstadt and Dvinsk. 

Along the balance of the front many stubborn engagements 
were fought between comparatively small detachments. Thus 
for instance, in the region east of Horodyshchj' north of Bara- 
novitchy, after a violent bombardment of the Rvissian trenches 
near the Scroboff farm on Sunday night, the German troops took 
the offensive, but were repulsed. At the same time, on the road 
to Slutsk, a German attempt to approach the Russian trenches 
on the Shara River was repulsed by heavy fire. 

In the region northwest of Lake Vygonovskoye, at noon the 
Germans attacked the farm situated five versts southwest of 
Lipsk. At first they were repulsed; but nevertheless they re- 
newed the attack afterward on a greatly extended front under 
cover of heavy and light artillery. 

Especially heavy fighting again developed along the Kovel 
sector of the Styr front. From Kolki to Sokal the Germans 
bombarded the Russian trenches with heavy artillery and 
made many local attacks, most of which were successfully 
repulsed. 

Repeated attacks in mass formation in the region of Linievka 
on the Stokhod, resulted also in some successes to the German 
troops. West of Sokal they stormed Russian positions over a 
length of some 3,000 meters and repulsed all counterattacks. 



188 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

On the reaches of the Dniester, south of Buczacz, Don Cos- 
sacks, having crossed the river fighting and overthrowing ele- 
ments of the Austro-Hungarian advance guards, occupied the 
villages of Siekerghine and Petruve, capturing five officers and 
350 men. Russian cavalry, after a fight, occupied positions near 
Pezoritt, a few miles west of Kimpolung. 

Additional large depots of wood and thirty-one abandoned 
wagons were captured at Molit and Frumos stations on the 
Gurahumora-Rascka railway. 

On the other hand the number of prisoners and the amount 
of booty taken by General von Linsingen's army alone in Vol- 
hynia since June 16, 1916, increased to sixty-one officers, 11,097 
men, two cannon and fifty-four guns. 



CHAPTER XXV 



TEMPORARY LULL IN THE RUSSIAN 
OFFENSIVE 

SO strong had the combined Austro-Hungarian-German resist- 
ance become by this time, that by June 26, 1916, the Russian 
advance seemed to have been halted all along the line. The 
resistance had stiffened, especially in front of Kovel, where the 
Central Powers seemed to have assembled their strongest forces 
and were not only successful in keeping the Russians from reach- 
ing Kovel but even regained some of the ground lost in Volhynia. 

Southwest of Sokal they stormed Russian lines and took sev- 
eral hundred prisoners. Russian counterattacks were nowhere 
successful. This was especially due to the fact that both on the 
Kolki front and on the middle Strypa the Germans bombarded all 
Russian positions with heavy guns. 

To the north of Kuty and west of Novo Posaive Russian at- 
tacks were repulsed likewise with heavy losses. 

The fighting in the north, along the Dvina front and south 
of Dvinsk in the lake district, had settled down to a series of local 



TEMPORARY LULL IN RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE 189 

engagements between small detachments and to artillery duels. 
German detachments which penetrated Russian positions south 
of Kekkau brought back twenty-six prisoners, one machine gun 
and one mine thrower. Another detachment which entered Rus- 
sian positions brought back north of Miadziol one officer, 188 
men, six machine guns and four mine throwers. Numerous 
bombs were again dropped on the railway freight station at 
Dvinsk. In the Baltic, however, three Russian hydroplanes in 
the Irben Strait engaged four German machines, bringing down 
one. On the Riga front and near Uxkull bridgehead there was an 
artillery duel. Against the Dvinsk positions, too, the Germans 
opened a violent artillery lire at different points, and attempted 
to take the offensive north of Lake Sventen, but without 
success. 

In the region north of Lake Miadziol, south of Dvinsk, the 
Germans bombarded with heavy and light artillery Russian 
trenches between lakes Dolja and Voltchino. They then started 
an offensive which was stopped by heavy artillery fire. A second 
German offensive also failed, the attacking troops being again 
driven back to their own trenches. 

In the region of the Slutsk road; southeast of Baranovitchy, 
the Germans after a short artillery preparation attempted to 
take the offensive, but were repulsed by heavy fire. 

The Germans also resumed the offensive in the vicinity of a 
farm southwest of Lipsk, northeast of Lake Vygonovskoe, and 
succeeded in reaching the east bank of the Shara, but soon after- 
ward were dislodged from it and fell back. 

The Russian official statement of that day, June 26, 1916, an- 
nounced that General Brussilov had captured between June 4th 
and 23d, 4,413 officers and doctors, 194,941 men, 219 guns, 644 
machine guns and 195 bomb throwers. 

Again, during the night of June 26, 1916, southeast of Riga, the 
Germans, after bombarding the Russian positions and emitting 
clouds of gas, attacked in great force in the direction of Pulkarn. 
Reenforcements, having been brought up quickly by the Russians, 
they succeeded with the assistance of their artillery, in repulsing 
the Germans, who suffered heavy losses. 



190 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

On the Dvina and in the Jacobstadt region there was an artil- 
lery and rifle duel. German aeroplanes were making frequent 
raids on the Russian lines. They dropped sixty-eight bombs 
during a nocturnal raid on the town of Dvinsk on June 27, 1916. 
The damage both to property and life was considerable. 

An attempt on the part of German troops to take the offensive 
south of Krevo was repulsed by gunfire. On the rest of the front 
as far as the region of the Pripet Marshes there was an exchange 
of fire. 

On the same day General von Linsingen's forces stormed and 
captured the village of Linievka, west of Sokal and about three 
miles east of the Svidniki bridgehead on the Stokhod, and the 
Russian positions south of it. West of Torchin, near the apex 
of the Lutsk salient, a strong Russian attack collapsed under 
German artillery and infantry fire. 

In Galicia, southwest of Novo Pochaieff , east of Brody, Austro- 
Hungarian outposts repulsed five Russian night attacks. 

Gradually the Russians were closing in on the important posi- 
tion of Kolomea, near the northern Bukowina border. On the east 
they were only twelve miles off, on the north they had crossed 
the Dniester twenty-four miles away, and in a few days they 
reported having driven the Austrians across a river thirteen 
miles to the southeast, while at Kuty, twenty miles almost due 
south, one attack followed another. 

On the following day, June 28, 1916, strong offensive move- 
ments again developed both in East Galicia and in Volhynia. In 
the former region the Russians were the aggressors ; in the latter, 
the Germans. 

In East Galicia General Lechitsky, commander of Brussilov's 
center, began a mighty onrush against the Austro-Hungarian 
lines, between the Dniester and the region around Kuty, in an 
effort to push his opponents beyond the important railway city 
of Kolomea, strategically the most valuable point of southern 
Galicia. 

He succeeded in inflicting a crushing defeat upon the Austro- 
Hungarians, taking three lines of trenches and 10,506 prisoners. 
This success was achieved in the northern part of the area of 



TEMPORARY LULL IN RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE 191 

attack, between the Dniester and the region around the Pruth. 
The fall of Kolomea looked inevitable because of this new 
advance. 

Persistent fighting took place on the line of the River Tcherto- 
vetz, a tributary of the Pruth, and also in the region of the town 
of Kuty. Both sides again suffered heavy losses at these points. 

East of Kolomea the Russians again attacked in massed for- 
mations on a front of twenty-five miles. At numerous points, 
at a great sacrifice, Russian reserves were thrown against the 
Austrian lines, and succeeded in advancing in hand-to-hand fight- 
ing, but during the evening were forced to evacuate a portion of 
their front near Kolomea and to the south. On the Dniester line 
superior Russian forces were repulsed north of Obertyn. All 
Russian attempts to dislodge the Austrians west of Novo Peczaje 
failed. At many other points in Galicia and the Bukowina there 
were artillery duels. 

In Volhynia, especially in the region of Linievka, and at other 
points on the Stokhod, the desperate fighting which had been in 
progress for quite a few days continued without abatement. 

Russian attacks made by some companies between Dubatow- 
ska and Smorgon failed in the face of terrific German fire. 

Near Guessitschi, southeast of Ljubtscha, a German division 
stormed an enemy point of support east of the Niemen, taking 
some prisoners and capturing two machine guns and two mine 
throwers. 

On the Dvina front German artillery bombarded the region 
of Sakowitche, Seltze and Bogouschinsk Wood, northwest of 
Krevo. Strong forces then proceeded to attack, but were re- 
pulsed by Russian machine guns and infantry fire. 

On June 29, 1916, the fighting northwest of Kuty continued. 
As a result of pressure on the part of the superior forces of the 
Russians the Austro-Hungarians were forced to withdraw their 
lines west and southwest of Kolomea. The town of Obertyn was 
taken after a stubborn fight, as well as villages in the neighbor- 
hood, north and south. In the region south of the Dniester, the 
Russians were pursuing the Austrians, who were forced to leave 
behind a large number of convoys and military material. 

M— War St. 5 



192 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Near the village of Solivine, between the rivers Stokhod and 
Styr, to the west of Sokal, the Germans attempted to take the 
offensive. Their attack was repulsed, but an artillery duel con- 
tinued until late in the day. 

In the morning German aviators dropped thirty bombs on 
Lutsk. Light and heavy German artillery opened a violent fire on 
the Russian trenches in the Niemen sector, northeast of Novo 
Grodek. Under cover of this fire German forces crossed the 
Niemen and occupied the woods east of the village of Guessitschi. 

On the Dvina front German artilleiy bombarded Russian 
positions southeast of Riga and the bridgehead above Uxkull. 
North of Illuxt the Germans attempted to move forward, but 
were thrown back by Russian gunfire. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

ADVANCE AGAINST LEMBERG AND.KOVEL 

LATE that day, June 29, 1916, General Lechitsky captured 
^ Kolomea, the important railway junction for the possession 
of which the battle had been raging furiously for days past. 
This was a severe blow to the Central Powers. It meant a seri- 
ous danger to the remainder of General Pfianzer's army and like- 
wise threatened the safety of General von Bothmer's forces to 
the north. 

Still the Russian advances continued. On the last day of June 
their left wing drove back the retreating Austro-Hungarians 
over a front situated south of the Dniester and occupied many 
places south of Kolomea. 

Northwest of Kolomea, Russian troops, after a violent en- 
gagement, drove back their opponents in the direction of the 
heights near the village of Brezova, and as the result of a bril- 
liant attack, took part of the heights. 

The number of prisoners taken by General Lechitsky during 
the last days of June, 1916, was 305 officers and 14,574 men. 



ADVANCE AGAINST LEMBERG AND KOVEL 193 

Four guns and thirty machine guns were captured. The total 
number of prisoners taken from June 4 to June 30, 1916, in- 
clusive, was claimed to have reached the immense total of 217,000 
officers and men. 

During June, in the region south of Griciaty, 158 officers and 
2,307 men, as well as cannon and nineteen machine guns, fell 
into the hands of the Central Powers. 

In the region of the Lipa Austrian artillery continued to bom 
bard the Russian front with heavy artillery and field artillery. 
Desperate attacks made by newly arrived German troops were, 
however, repulsed with heavy losses to the attacking forces. 

Near Thumacz an attack of cavalry, who charged six deep 
along a front of three kilometers, was successfully repulsed by 
Austro-Hungarian troops. 

German forces drove back Russian troops south of Ugrinow, 
west of Tortschin, and near Sokal. 

At other points on the Kovel front engagements likewise took 
place, though the violence of the combat had somewhat abated. 

West of Kolki, southwest of Sokal, and near Viczny, German 
forces conquered Russian positions. West and southwest of 
Lutsk various local engagements occurred. Here the Russians 
on June 30, 1916, lost fifteen officers, 1,365 men; since June 16th, 
twenty-six officers, 3,165 men. 

The next objective of General Lechitsky's army was Stanislau, 
about thirty miles farther northwest than Kolomea, on the Czer- 
novitz-Lemberg railway. On July 1, 1916, in the region west of 
Kolomea, the army of General Lechitsky, after intense fighting, 
took .by storm some strong Austrian positions and captured some 
2,000 men. 

Further north, German and Austro-Hungarian troops of Gen- 
eral von Bothmer's army stormed the hill of Vorobijowka, a 
height southwest of Tarnopol, which had been occupied by the 
Russians, and took seven officers and 891 men. Seven machine 
guns and two mine throwers were captured. 

On the Volhynia front the German troops continued to deliver 
desperate attacks against some sectors between the Styr and 
Stokhod and south of the Stokhod. 



WA THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

In the afternoon German artillery produced gusts of fire in 
the region of Koptchie, Ghelenovka and Zabary, southwest of 
Sokal. An energetic attack then followed, but was repulsed. 
Southwest of Kiselin Russian fire stopped an offensive. At the 
village of Seniawa and in the same region near the village of 
Seublino there was a warm engagement. A series of fresh Ger- 
man attacks southwest of Kiselin-Zubilno-Kochey was repulsed. 
The German columns were put to flight with heavy losses. The 
fugitives were killed in large numbers, but, reenforced by re- 
serves, the attacks were promptly renewed, without, however, 
meeting with much success. 

South of the village of Zaturze, near the village of Koscheff, 
Russian forces stopped an Austrian offensive by a counteroffen- 
sive. Austrian attempts to cross the River Shara southwest of 
Lipsk and south of Baranovitchy were likewise repulsed. 

On July 2, 1916, Russian torpedo boats bombarded the Cour- 
land coast east of Raggazem without result. They were attacked 
effectively by German coastal batteries and by aeroplanes. 

At many points along the front of Field Marshal von Hinden- 
burg the Russians increased their fire, and repeatedly undertook 
advances. These led to fighting within the German lines near 
Niki, north of Smorgon. The Russians were ejected with losses. 

On the front of Prince Leopold the Russians attacked north- 
east and east of Gorodische and on both sides of the Baranovitchy 
railway, after artillery preparation lasting four hours. 

Farther south fierce battles occurred between the Styr 
and the Stokhod and to the south of these rivers. On the 
Koptche-Ghelenovka-Zobary front, after gusts of gunfire, 
the Germans left their trenches and opened an assault upon 
the Russian line. Under cover of a bombardment of ex- 
treme violence German troops opened an offensive south 
of Linievka, but were checked. In the region of Zubilno 
and Zaturze (west of Lutsk) the Austrians took the offen- 
sive in massed formation, but were repulsed with heavy losses. 
East of the village of Ougrinov, midway between Lutsk and 
Gorochoff, fresh German forces held up Russian attacks. At other 
points on the front of General von Linsingen strong Russian 



ADVANCE AGAINST LEMBERG AND KOVEL 195 

counterattacks were delivered west and southwest of Lutsk, but 
failed to stop the German advance. Large cavalry attacks broke 
down under German fire. The number of prisoners was increased 
by the Germans by about 1,800. As the result of a week of costly 
onslaughts by the Austro-German army between the Stokhod and 
the Styr Rivers in Volhynia, the Russian forces had now been 
forced back a distance of five miles along the greatest part of 
the front before Kovel. 

In the region of Issakoff, on the right bank of the Dniester, 
southeast of Nijniff , the Austrians took the offensive in superior 
- numbers. The Russians launched a counteroffensive, which re- 
sulted in a fierce fight. 

On July 3, 1916, the Russian advance west of Kolomea still 
continued in this direction. The Austrians were dislodged from 
several positions, and as a result of this the Russians occupied the 
village of Potok Tchamy. The booty taken by the Russians here 
was four cannon and a few hundred prisoners. 

Further north in Galicia the army group of General Count 
von Bothmer, southeast of Thumacz, in a quick advance, forced 
back the Russians on a front more than twelve and a half miles 
wide and more than five and a quarter miles deep. 

On the Styr-Stokhod front the Russians again threw strong 
forces, part of them recently brought up to this front, in masses 
against the German lines to stay their advance, but were re- 
pulsed. 

An attempt of German troops to cross the Styr in the region 
of the village of Lipa was repulsed. During the night the Rus- 
sians captured on this front eleven officers, nearly 1,000 men and 
five machine guns. 

Still farther north, local counterattacks at points where the 
Russians first succeeded in making some advances, all yielded 
finally some successes for the Germans, who captured thirteen 
, officers and 1,883 men. Two lines of German works south of 
Tzirine, northeast of Baranovitchy, however, were pierced by the 
Russians. In this fighting they captured seventy-two officers, 
2,700 men, eleven cannon and several machine guns and bomb 
throwers. 



196 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

On the northerly front there was lively artillery fire, which 
became violent at some points. In the region of the village of 
Baltaguzy, east of Lake Vichnevskoye the Germans attempted 
to leave their trenches, but were prevented by Russian fire. A 
Russian air squadron raided the Baranovitchy railway station. 

Once more, on July 4, 1916, the coast of Courland was bom- 
barded fruitlessly from the sea by Russian ships. The operations 
of the Russian forces against the front of Field Marshal von 
Hindenburg were continued, especially on both sides of Smorgon. 
On the Riga-Dvinsk front the artillery duels were growing more 
intense. Northwest of Goduziesk, Russian troops dislodged Ger- 
man forces from the outskirts of a wood. German aeroplane 
squadrons dropped bombs freely on the railway. 

The Russians recommenced attacking the front from Tzirin to 
a point southeast of Baranovitchy. Hand-to-hand fights in some 
places were very stubborn. The Russians were driven out of 
the sections of the German lines into which they had broken and 
suffered very heavy losses. 

On the lower Styr and on the front between the Styr and 
Stokhod, and farther south as far as the region of the lower 
Lipa, everywhere there were fought most desperate engage- 
ments. 

In the region of Vulka-Galouziskai the Russians broke through 
wire entanglements fitted with land mines. In a very desperate 
fight on the Styr west of Kolki the Russians overthrew the 
Germans and took more than 1,000 prisoners, together with 
three guns, seventeen machine guns and two searchlights, and 
several thousand rifles. 

In the region north of Zaturse and near Volia Sadovska the 
Russians seized the first line of enemy trenches, and stopped by 
artillery fire an enemy attack on Schkline. 

In the region of the lower Lipa the Germans made a most 
stubborn attack without result. At another point the Germans, 
who crossed the Styr above the mouth of the Lipa, near the vil- 
lage of Peremel, were attacked and driven back to the river. 

On the Galician front, in the direction of the Carpathians, 
there was an artillery action. The left wing of the Russians 



ADVANCE AGAINST LEMBERG AND KOVEL 197 

continued to press the Austrians back. On the road between 
Kolomea and Dalatyn the Russians captured the village of Sad- 
zadka at the point of the bayonet. 

Southeast of Riga and at many points on the front between 
Postavy and Vishnieff, further partial attacks by the Russians 
were repulsed on July 5, 1916. On the Dvina front and the 
Dvinsk position and further south there were also lively artillery 
engagements at numerous points. Near Boyare, on the Dvina 
above Friedrichstadt, Russian light artillery smashed a German 
light battery. Attempts by the Germans to remove the guns 
were unsuccessful. The gun team, which endeavored to save one 
of the guns, was annihilated. All the guns were eventually 
abandoned. 

Extremely fierce fighting, especially in the region east of 
Worodische and south of Darovo, was everywhere in German 
favor. The losses of the Russians were very considerable. 

In the direction of Baranovitchy the fighting continues, devel- 
oping to Russian advantage. The Germans delivered repeated 
counterattacks in order to regain positions captured by the Rus- 
sians, but each was easily repulsed. 

South of the Pinsk Marshes the Russians had important new 
successes. In the region of Gostioukhovka they captured an 
entire German battery and took prisoners twenty-two officers and 
350 soldiers. Northwest of Baznitchi, on the Styr, north of Kolki, 
the Russians captured two cannon, three machine guns, and 
2,322 prisoners. North of Stegrouziatine they captured German 
trenches and took more than 300 prisoners and one machine 
gun. Between the Styr and the Stokhod, west of Sokal and 
southward, the Germans launched many counterattacks under 
the protection of artillery. 

In Galicia, after intense artillery preparations, the Russians 
took up an energetic offensive west of the lower Strypa and on 
the right bank of the Dniester. The Germans were defeated and 
driven back. The Russian troops were now approaching the 
Koropice and Souhodolek Rivers, tributaries of the Dniester. 
They took here nearly 5,000 prisoners and eleven machine guns. 
On the front of the Barysz sector the defense, after the repulse 



198 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

of repeated Russian attacks, was partially transferred to the 
Koropice sector. Russian assaults frequently broke down before 
the German lines on both sides of Chocimirz, southeast of 
Tlumach. 

Near Sadzadka the Russians with superior forces were suc- 
cessful in penetrating the Austrian positions, who then retreated 
about live miles to the west, where they formed a new line and 
repulsed all attacks. 

Southwest and northwest of Kolomea the Austrians main^ 
tained their positions against all Russian efforts. 

Southwest of Buczacz, after heavy fighting at Koropice Brook, 
the Austrians recaptured their line. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

THE GERMAN STAND ON THE STOKHOD 

GENERAL VON LINSINGEN saw himself forced to abandon 
on July 6, 1916, a corner of the German lines protruding 
toward Czartorysk on account of the superior pressure on its 
sides near Kostiukovka and west of Kolki, and new lines of de- 
fense were selected along the Stokhod. On both sides of Sokal, 
Russian attacks broke down with heavy losses. West and south- 
west of Lutsk the situation remained unchanged that day. 

Against the front of Field Marshal von Hindenburg, the Rus- 
sians continued their operations. They attacked with strong 
forces south of Lake Narotch, but after fierce fighting were 
repulsed. Northeast of Smorgon and at other points they were 
easily repulsed. 

The fighting in the vicinity of Kolomea was extended. A 
strong Russian advance west of the town was checked by a 
counterattack. Southeast of Tlumach German and Austro- 
Hungarian troops broke up with artillery and infantry fire an 
attack over a front of one and a half kilometers by a large force 
of Russian cavalry. 



THE GERMAN STAND ON THE STOKHOD 199 

The number of prisoners the Russians took on July 4 and 5, 
1916, during the fighting which still continued on west of the 
line of the Styr and below the town of Kolki, totals more than 
300 officers and 7,415 men, mostly unwounded. The Russians 
also captured six guns, twenty-three machine guns, two search- 
lights, several thousand rifles, eleven bomb throwers, and sev- 
enty-three ammunition lights. 

The Russians repulsed violent German attacks near Gruziatyn. 
On the right bank of the Dniester, in the region of Jidatcheff 
and Hotzizrz, there also was desperate fighting. 

There was a lively artillery duel in many sectors of the front 
north of the Pinsk Marshes. East of Baranovitchy, the Austro- 
Hungarian forces launched several desperate counterattacks 
which were repulsed by the Russians. Several times the Aus- 
trians opened gusts of fire with their heavy and light guns 
against the region of the village of Labuzy, east of Baranovitchy. 
Under cover of this fire, the Austrians delivered two violent 
counterattacks. The Russians drove the Austro-Hungarians 
back on both occasions, bringing to bear on them the fire of their 
artillery, machine guns, and rifles. 

During the repulse of repeated attacks made on July 7, 1916, 
south of Lake Narotch, the Germans captured two officers and 
210 men. They repelled weak advances at other points. 

Repeated efforts by strong Russian forces against the front 
from Tzirin to the southeast of Gorodische and on both sides 
of the Darovo ended in complete failure. The dead lying before 
the German positions numbered thousands. In addition to these 
the Russians lost a considerable number of prisoners. 

Austro-Hungarian troops fighting along the bend of the Styr, 
opposed for four weeks past to hostile forces which have in- 
creased from threefold to fivefold superiority, found it necessary 
to withdraw their advanced lines which were exposed to a 
double outflanking movement. Assisted by the cooperation of 
German troops west of Kolki and by the Polish Legion near 
Kaloda, the movement was executed undisturbed by the Russians*" 

In the region of the lower Styr, west of the Czartorysk sector, 
the Russians were closely pressing the Austrians. After the battle 



200 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

they occupied the Gorodok-Manevichi station on the Okonsk- 
Zagorovka-Gruziatyn line. In combats seventy-five officers in 
the zone of the railway were taken with 2,000 men, and also 
in the Gruziatyn region. 

Following the capture of the village of Grady, and after a hot 
bayonet encounter, the village of Dolzyca, on the main road be- 
tween Kolki and Manevichi, and village of Gruziatyn were taken. 
The number of German and Austrian prisoners continued to 
increase. 

In the region of Optevo a great number of Austrians were 
sabered during pursuit of the Russians after a cavalry charge. 
More than 600 men, five cannon, six machine guns, and three 
machine gun detachments, with complete equipment, were cap- 
tured. 

East of Monasterzyska (Galicia), the Russians took posses- 
sion of the village of Gregorov, carrying off more than 1,000 
prisoners. There were artillery duels at many points. Russian 
troops continued to press back the Austrians. In southeastern 
Galicia, between Delatyn and Sadzovka, a Russian attack in 
strong force was defeated by Alpine Territorials. 

In the Bukowina, in successful engagements, Austrian troops 
brought in 500 prisoners and four machine guns. 

On July 8, 1916, the Russians fighting against the army group 
of Prince Leopold of Bavaria, repeated several times their strong 
attacks. The attacks again broke down, with heavy losses for 
the Russians. In the fighting of the last few days the Germans 
captured two officers and 631 men. 

The Russian offensive on the lower Stokhod continued. South 
of the Sarny-Kovel railway the villages of Goulevitchi and Ka- 
chova were occupied after fighting. Farther south there were 
fires everywhere in the region of the villages of Arsenovitchi, 
Janovka, and Douchtch. 

In southern Galicia, General Lechitsky occupied Delatjm after 
very violent fighting. Delatyn is a railway junction of great 
importance. Depots of war material, steel shields, grenades, 
cartridges, iron, and wire abandoned by the Austrians have been 
captured at many points. 



THE GERMAN STAND ON THE STOKHOD 201 

On the northern section of the front, apart from fruitless 
Russian attacks in the region of Skobowa, east of Gorodische, 
nothing of importance occurred on July 9, 1916. 

The Russians advancing toward the Stokhod line were re- 
pulsed everywhere. Their attacks west and southwest of Lutsk 
were unsuccessful. German aeroplane squadrons made a suc- 
cessful attack on Russian shelters east of the Stokhod. 

Near the villages of Svidniki, Starly Mossor and Novy Mossor, 
on the left bank of the Stokhod, lively fighting was in progress. 
The Russians took German prisoners at three points. Between 
Kiselin and Zubilno the Austrians attempted a surprise attack, 
but it was repulsed with heavy loss. 

The total number of prisoners taken by General Kaledine, 
from July 4 to July 8, 1916, was 341 officers and 9,145 unwounded 
soldiers. He also captured ten pieces of artillery, forty-eight 
machine guns, sixteen bomb throwers, 7,930 rifles, and depots 
of engineering materials. These figures were supposed to be 
added to those given previously, which included 300 officers, 
12,000 men and forty-five pieces of artillery. 

On the Galician front there was a particularly intense artillery 
action on both banks of the Dniester. 

From the coast to Pinsk no events of special importance oc- 
curred during July 10, 1916. 

The Russians made futile attacks with very strong forces at 
several points against the German line along the Stokhod River, 
notably near Czereviscze, Hulevicze, Korysmi and Janmaka, and 
on both sides of the Kovel-Rovno railway. 

Near Hulevicze the Germans drove back Russian troops be- 
yond their position by a strong counterattack, capturing more 
than 700 prisoners and three machine guns. 

In the Stokhod region the Germans received strong reenforce- 
ments and brought up powerful artillery, enabling them to offer 
a very stubborn resistance. 

On the Briaza-Fondoul-Moldava front, northwest of Kimpo- 
lung, in the southern Bukowina, considerable Austro-Hungarian 
forces were thrown back by Russian troops after violent en- 
gagements at various points. 



202 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

German aeroplanes successfully attacked the railway station 
at Zamirie on the Minsk-Baranovitchy railway line, dropping as 
many as sixty bombs. 

An attempt to cross the Dvina made by weak Russian forces 
west of Friedrichstadt on July 11, 1916, and attacks south of 
Narotch Lake were frustrated. 

Russian detachments which attempted to establish themselves 
on the left bank of the Stokhod River, near Janowka, were at- 
tacked. Not a single man of these detachments got away from 
the southern bank. At this point and on the Kovel-Rovno rail- 
road the Germans took more than 800 prisoners. The booty 
taken on the Stokhod during the two days, apart from a 
number of officers and 1,932 men, included twelve machine guns. 
The German aerial squadron continued their activity in attacks 
east of the Stokhod. A Russian captive balloon was shot down. 

Russian artillery dispersed Germans who were attempting U 
bring artillery against the Ikakul works. Near the village ol 
Grouchivka, north of Hulevicze, the Germans made their ap- 
pearance on the right bank of the river, but later were ejected 
therefrom. 

In the sector of the Tscherkassy farm, south of Krevo, the 
Germans, supported by violent artillery fire, took the offensive, 
but were repulsed by Russian counterattacks. 

On the whole front from Riga to Poliessie, there was inter- 
mittent artillery fire, together with rifle fire. German aviators 
dropped bombs on the station of Zamirie and the town of Niesvij, 
where several houses were set on fire. 

German troops, belonging to General von Bothmer's army 
group, by an encircling counterattack, carried out near and to 
the north of Olessa, northwest of Buczacz, on July 12, 1916, 
drove back Russian troops which had pushed forward and took 
more than 400 prisoners. 

On the Stokhod there were violent artillery duels. German 
aeroplanes appeared behind the Russian front and dropped many 
bombs, doing considerable damage. 

Again, on July 13, 1916, the Russians advanced on the Stokhod, 
near Zarecz, but were driven back by troops belonging to Gen- 



THE GERMAN STAND ON THE STOKHOD 203 

eral von Linsingen's army, and lost a few hundred men and 
some machine guns which fell into the hands of the Germans. 
Other German detachments successfully repeated their attacks 
on the east bank of the Stokhod River. 

German aeroplanes bombarded Lutsk and the railway station 
at Kivertsk, northeast of Lutsk. 

To the north of the Sarny-Kovel railway the Russians gained 
a footing in their opponents* positions on the west bank of the 
Stokhod. A surprise attack, made by strong German forces late 
in the evening, drove them back again to the opposite bank. 

In the region of the lower Lipa, German guns opened a violent 
fire against the Russian trenches and inflicted heavy losses. 

The town of Polonetchki, northeast of Baranovitchy, was at- 
tacked by German aeroplanes, which threw many bombs and 
caused considerable damage. 

West of the Strypa the Austro-German forces launched a 
series of furious counterattacks, as a result of which the Rus- 
sians claimed to have captured over 3,000 prisoners. 

West and northwest of Buczacz the Russians made two at- 
tacks on a broad front which were repulsed. During the third 
assault, however, they succeeded in penetrating the Austro-Hun- 
garian positions northwest of Buczacz, but were completely 
ejected during a most bitter night battle. 

On July 14, 1916, the Germans under cover of a violent fire, 
approached the barbed-wire entanglements of the Russians on 
the grounds in the region of the River Servitch, a tributary of 
the Niemen. They were repulsed by Russian artillery fire. 

The same day the Germans opened a violent artillery fire 
against Russian lines eastward of Gorodichtche (Baranovitchy 
sector), after they assumed the offensive in the region of the 
village of Skrobowa, but were repulsed with heavy losses. A 
little later, after a continuation of the bombardment, the Ger- 
mans took the offensive in massed formation a little farther 
north of Skrobowa, but were again repulsed by Russian fire. 

After having taken breath the Germans made a fresh attack 
in the region of the same village, but the Russian troops repulsed 
the Germans with machine-gun and rifle fire. The Russians then 



204 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

made a counterattack which resulted in the capture of more 
ground. 

Repeated German attempts to advance toward the sector south- 
west of the village of Skrobowa were also repulsed by Russian 
fire. 

On the front of the Russian position southeast of Riga the 
Germans took the offensive against the Russian sectors near 
Frantz, northeast of Pulkarn, but were repulsed by Russian ar- 
tillery and infantry fire and by hand-grenade fighting. Russian 
detachments which attempted to cross the Dvina, near Lenne- 
waden, northwest of Friedrichstadt, were repulsed. Numerous 
bombs were dropped from German aeroplanes on railway sta- 
tions on the Smorgon-Molodetchna line. 

On the right wing of their Riga positions, the Russians, sup- 
ported strongly by artillery on land and sea, made some progress 
during July 15, 1916, in the region west of Kemmern. On the 
remainder of the north front there were some local engagements 
which, however, did not modify the general situation. 

Troops belonging to the army of Field Marshal Prince Leopold 
of Bavaria recaptured some positions in the region of Skrobowa. 
which had been lost the previous day. The Russians in turn at- 
tempted to regain this ground by making a number of very 
strong counterattacks, but were not successful. In this attempt 
they lost a few hundred men and six officers. 

Austrian troops dispersed some Russian detachments south- 
west of Moldaha. Near Jablonica their patrols captured, by a 
number of daring undertakings, a few hundred prisoners. 

Near Delatyn, in the Carpathian Mountains, there was in- 
creased activity. Russian advance guards entered Delatyn, but 
were driven back to the southern outskirts. Another Russian 
attack to the southwest of the town broke down under the Aus- 
trian fire. 

There also was a renewal of the fighting in the region south- 
west of Lutsk, west of Torchin. A number of Russian attacks 
were repulsed in this neighborhood. 

At other points of the Volhynian front, in the region southeast 
of Sviniusky, near Lutsk, the Germans again assumed the of- 



THE GERMAN STAND ON THE STOKHOD 205 

fensive and attacked in massed formations. This resulted in a 
series of strong counterattacks, which enabled the Russians to 
maintain their positions. 

At many points in the region of Ostoff and Goubine, Russian 
troops registered local successes by very swiftly executed attacks 
which threatened to outflank their opponents, who were, there- 
fore, forced to retreat in great haste. As a result of this, the 
Russians captured one heavy and one light battery as well as 
numerous cannon which had been installed in isolated locations. 
Upward of 3,000 prisoners fell into their hands. 

In Volhynia, on July 16, 1916, to the east and southeast of 
Svinisuky village, Russian troops under General Sakharoff broke 
down the resistance of the Germans. In battles in the region 
of Pustomyty, more than 1,000 Germans and Austrian prisoners 
have been taken, together with three machine guns and much 
other military booty. 

In the region of the lower Lipa the successful Russian advance 
continued. The Germans were making a stubborn resistance. 
In battles in this region the Russians took many prisoners and 
guns, as well as fourteen machine guns, a few thousand rifles 
and other equipment. 

The total number of prisoners taken on July 16, 1916, in bat- 
tles in Volhynia, was claimed to be 314 officers and 12,637 men. 
The Russians also claimed to have captured thirty guns, of which 
seventeen were heavy pieces, and a great many machine guns 
and much other material. 

In the direction of Kirliababa, on the frontier of Transylvania, 
Russians have occupied a set of new positions. 

In the region of Riga, skirmishes on both sides have been suc- 
cessful for the Russians, and parts of German trenches have been 
taken, together with prisoners. Increased fire west and south 
of Riga and on the Dvina front preceded Russian enterprises. 
Near Katarinehof, south of Riga, considerable Russian forces 
attacked. Lively fighting developed here. 

On the Riga front artillery engagements continued throughout 
July 17 and 18, 1916. At Lake Miadziol, Russian infantry and 
a lake flotilla made a surprise attack on the Germans in the 



206 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

night. Grerman airmen manifested great activity from the region 
south of the Dvina to the Pinsk Marshes. 

On the Stokhod there was artillery fighting at many places. 

Russian troops repulsed by artillery fire an attempt on the 
part of the Germans to take the offensive north of the Odzer 
Marsh. Owing to the heavy rains the Dniester rose almost two 
and one half meters, destroying bridges, buttresses and ferry- 
boats, and considerably curtailing military operations. 

On the Russian left flank, in the region of the Rivers Black 
and White Tscheremosche, southwest of Kuty, Russian infantry 
were advancing toward the mountain defiles. 

Southwest of Delatyn the German troops drove back across 
the Pruth Russian detachments which had crossed to the west- 
em bank. The Germans took 300 prisoners. 

On July 19, 1916, General Lechitsky's forces, which were 
advancing from the Bukowina and southern Galicia toward the 
passes of the Carpathians leading to the plains of Hungary, 
met with strong opposition in the region of Jablonica, situated 
at the northern end of a pass leading through the Carpathians 
to the important railroad center of Korosmezo, in Hungary. 

Jablonica is about thirty-three miles west of Kuty and fifteen 
miles south of Delatyn. It is on the right of the sixty-mile front 
occupied by the advancing army of General Lechitsky. 

No let-up was noticeable in the battle along the Stokhod, where 
the combined forces of the Central Powers seemed to be able to 
withstand all Russian attacks. Along the Lipa increased artil- 
lery fire was the order of the day. In Galicia the floods in the 
Dniester Valley continued to hamper military operations. Many 
minor engagements were fought both in the northern and cen- 
tral sectors of the front. 



. INCREASED STRENGTH OF RUSSIAN DRIVE 207 

CHAPTER XXVIII 

INCREASED STEENGTH OF THE RUSSIAN 

DRIVE 

AS the month of July approached its end the Russian assaults 
-became more and more violent. Along the entire front the 
most bitter and sanguinary fighting took place day after day 
and night after night. Artillery bombardments such as never 
had been heard before raged at hundreds of places at the 
same time. Troops in masses that passed all former experience 
were employed by the Russians to break the resistance of the 
Teutonic allies. 

The latter, however, seemed to have their affairs well in 
hand. At many points they lost local engagements. At other 
points advanced positions had to be given up, and at still other 
points occasional withdrawals of a few miles became inevitable. 
But, all in all, the Austro-German lines held considerably well. 

During the last two or three days of July, 1916, however, the 
German-Austrian forces suffered some serious reverses. On July 
21, 1916, General Sakharoff had succeeded in crossing the Lipa 
River and in establishing himself firmly on its south bank. This 
brought him within striking distance of the important railway 
point of Brody on the Dubno-Lemberg railway, very close to 
the Russo-Galician border, and only fifty miles northeast of 
Lemberg. 

In spite of the most determined resistance on the part of the 
Austrian troops, the Russian general was able to push his ad- 
vantage during the next few days, and on July 27, 1916, Brody 
fell into his hands. 

Less successful was the continued attack on the Stokhod line 
with the object of reaching Kovel. There the German- Austrian 
forces repulsed all Russian advances. 

In the Bukowina, however, the Russians gradually pushed on. 
Slowly but surely they approached once more the Carpathian 
Mountain passes. 

N— War St. 5 



208 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

The same was true in eastern Galicia. After the fall of 
Kolomea in the early part of the month, the Russian advance had 
progressed steadily, even if slowly, in the direction of Stanislau 
and Lemberg. Closer and closer to Stanislau the Russian forces 
came, until on July 30, 1916, they were well within striking dis- 
tance. 

In the north, too. General Kuropatkin displayed greatly in- 
creased activity against Von Hindenburg's front, although as a 
result he gained only local successes. 

Midsummer, 1916, then saw the Russians once more on a 
strong offensive along their entire front. How far this move- 
ment would ultimately carry them, it was hard to tell. Once 
more the way into the Hungarian plains seemed to be open to 
the czar's soldiers, and a sufficiently successful campaign in Gali- 
cia might easily force back the center of the line to such an 
extent that they might then have prospects of regaining some of 
the ground lost during their great retreat. 

Interesting details of the terrific struggle which had been 
going on on the eastern front for many weeks are given in the 
following letter from an English special correspondent : 

"I reached the headquarters of a certain Siberian corps about 
midnight on July 15, 1916, to find the artillery preparation, 
which had started at 4 p. m., in full blast. Floundering around 
through the mud, we came almost on to the positions, which were 
suddenly illuminated with fires started by Austrian shells in two 
villages near by, while the jagged flashes of bursting shells ahead 
caused us to extinguish the lights of the motor and to turn across 
the fields, ultimately arriving at the headquarters of a corps 
which I knew well on the Bzura line in Poland. 

"Sitting in a tiny room in an unpretentious cottage with the 
commander, I followed the preparations which were being made 
for the assault. The ticking of the instruments gave news from 
the front, the line of which was visible from the windows by 
flares and rockets and burning villages. By midnight ten 
breaches had been made in the barbed wire, each approximately 
twenty paces broad, and the attacks were ordered for three 
o'clock in the morning. 



INCREASED STRENGTH OF RUSSIAN DRIVE 209 

"Rising at 5 a. m. I accompanied the commander of the corps 
to his observation point on a ridge. The attacks had already- 
swept away the resistance of the enemy's first line. 

"Thousands of prisoners were in our hands, and the enemy- 
was already retiring rapidly. He therefore halted but a few 
minutes, pushing on to the advanced positions. The commander 
stopped repeatedly by the roadside tapping the field wires, 
and giving further instructions as to the disposition of the 
troops. 

"As we moved forward we began to meet the flood from the 
battle field, first the lightly wounded, and then Austrian prison- 
ers helping our heavily wounded, who were in carts. 

"Before we were halfway to the positions a cavalry general 
splashed with mud met the commander and informed him that 
six guns were already in our hands. The next report from the 
field telephone increased the number to ten guns, with 2,000 
prisoners, including some Germans. 

"At quite an early hour the entire country was alive, and every 
department of the army beginning to move forward. All the 
roads were choked with ammunition parks, batteries, and trans- 
ports following up our advancing troops; while the stream of 
returning caissons, the wounded, and the prisoners equaled in 
volume the tide of -the advancing columns. 

"The commander took up his position on a ridge which but a 
few hours before had been our advanced line. Thence the 
country could be observed for miles. Each road was black with 
moving troops, pushing forward on the heels of the enemy, whose 
field gun shells were bursting on the ridges just beyond. 

"Here I met the commander of the division and his staff. 
Plans were immediately made for following up our success. Evi- 
dently the size of our group was discernible from some distant 
enemy observation point, for within five minutes came the howl 
of an approaching projectile and a 6-inch shell burst with a 
terrific crash in a neighboring field. Its arrival, which was 
followed at regular intervals by others ranging from 4-inch 
upward, was apparently unnoticed by the general, whose inter- 
est was entirely occupied with pressing his advantage. 



210 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"So swift was our advance that nearly half an hour elapsed 
before the newly strung field wires were working properly. 

"The fire had become so persistent that our group scattered 
and hundreds of prisoners, whose black mass could be seen by the 
enemy, were removed beyond the possibility of observation. 
Then the corps commander, stretched on straw on the crest of 
the ridge, with his maps spread out, dictated directions to the 
operator of the field telephone who crouched beside him. 

"Before and beneath us lay the abandoned line of Austrian 
trenches, separated from ours by a small stream, where since 
daylight the heroic engineers were laboring under heavy shell 
fire to construct a bridge to enable our cavalry and guns to pass 
in pursuit. 

"Leaving the general we proceeded. Our troops had forced the 
line here at 3 a. m., wading under machine-gun and rifle fire 
in water and marsh above their waists, often to their armpits. 
The Austrian end of the bridge was a horrible place, as it was 
congested with dead, dying and horribly wounded men, who, as 
the ambulances were on the other side of the river, could not be 
removed. A sweating officer was urging forward the completion 
of the bridge, which was then barely wide enough to permit the 
waiting cavalry squadrons to pass in single file. On the opposite 
bank waited the ambulance to get across after the troops had 
passed. A number of German ambulance men were working 
furiously over their own and the Austrian wounded, many of 
whom, I think, must have been wounded by their own guns in an 
attempt to prevent the bridging of the stream. A more bloody 
scene I have not witnessed, though within a few hours the entire 
place was probably cleared up. 

"Passing on I, for the first time, witnessed the actual taking 
of prisoners, and watched their long blue files as they passed 
out from their own trenches and were formed in groups allotted 
to Russian soldiers, who served as guides rather than guards, 
and sent to the rear. 

"Near here I encountered about fifty captured Germans and 
talked with about a dozen of them. Certainly none of them 
showed the smallest lack of morale or any depression. 



INCREASED STRENGTH OF RUSSIAN DRIVE 211 

"By noon sufficient details of the fighting were available to 
indicate that this corps alone had taken between three and five 
thousand prisoners and twenty guns, of which four are said to 
be howitzers. When one is near the front the perspective of 
operations is nearly always faulty, and it was, therefore, impos- 
sible to estimate the effect of the movement as a whole, but I 
understand that all the other corps engaged had great success 
and everywhere advanced." 



PART IV— THE BALKANS 



CHAPTER XXIX 

HOLDING FAST IN SALONIKI 

THE six months ending with March, 1916, had been not only 
an eventful period in the Balkans, but a most unfortunate one 
for the Allies. In no theater of the war had they sustained such 
a series of smashing disasters in diplomacy as well as on the 
field of battle. First of all, early in the fall, the Austrians had 
begun their fourth invasion of Serbia, this time heavily reen- 
forced by the Germans and in such numbers that it was obvious 
before the first attack was begun that Serbia by herself would 
not be able to hold back the invaders. And then, hardly had 
the real fighting begun, when Bulgaria definitely cast her lot 
in with the Teutons and Hungarians and attacked the Serbians 
from the rear. 

While it was true that King Ferdinand and his governing 
clique had made this decision months before, it is nevertheless a 
fact that it was probably the blundering diplomacy of the Allies 
which was responsible for this action on the part of the Bul- 
garians. Under all circumstances King Ferdinand would prob- 
ably have favored the Teutons, since by birth and early training 
he is an Austrian and, moreover, as he once expressed himself 
publicly, he was firmly convinced that the Teutons would ulti- 
mately win. But the Bulgarian people are sentimentally inclined 
toward the Russians and dislike the Germans. Had not the 
diplomatic policy of the Allies played into the hands of the king, 
they would naturally have turned toward the Allies. 

Above all else the Bulgarians have desired either the freedom 
or the annexation of Macedonia, which is almost entirely inhab- 

212 



I 



HOLDING FAST IN SALONIKI 213 

ited by Bulgars. The Germans made the definite promise that 
Macedonia should be theirs if they allied themselves with them. 
The Allies endeavored to promise as much, but the protests of 
Greece and Serbia stood in the way. Neither of these two nations 
was willing to give up its possessions in this disputed territory, 
though later, when she saw that her very existence was at stake, 
Serbia did make some concessions, but not until after Bulgaria 
had already taken her^decision. Had the Allies disregarded these 
greedy bickerings on the part of her minor allies and promised as 
much as the Germans had promised, there is no doubt that the 
popular sentiment in Bulgaria would have been strong enough 
to block Ferdinand's policy. 

In Greece, too, there had been the same blundering policy. 
Here the situation was much the same as in Bulgaria ; the king, 
with his Teutonic affiliations, was in favor of the Germans, while 
the sentiment of the people was in favor of the Allies. Moreover, 
here the popular sentiment was voiced by and personified in 
quite the strongest statesman in Greece, Eleutherios Venizelos. 
Had the Allies made known to the Greeks definitely and in a 
public manner just what they were to expect by joining the 
Entente, the policy of the king would have been frustrated. But 
here again the ambitions of Italy in Asia Minor and in the 
Greek archipelago caused the same hesitation. The result 
was that popular enthusiasm was so dampened that the king 
was able to pursue his own policy. 

Then came the disastrous invasion of Serbia; the Serbian 
armies were overwhelmed and practically annihilated, a few 
remnants only being able to escape through Albania. The as- 
sistance that was sent in the form of an Anglo-French army 
under General Sarrail came just too late. Having swept Mace- 
donia clear of the Serbians, the Bulgarians next attacked the 
forces under Sarrail and hurled them back into the Greek terri- 
tory about Saloniki. 

The Italians, too, had attempted to take part in the Balkan 
operations, but with their own national interests obviously 
placed above the general interests of the whole Entente. They 
had landed on the Albanian coast, at Durazzo and Avlona, hoping 



214 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

to hold territory which they desire ultimately to annex. Then 
followed the invasion of Montenegro and Albania by the Aus- 
trians and the Bulgarians, and the Italians were driven out of 
Durazzo, retaining only a foothold in Avlona. 

By March, 1916, all major military operations had ceased. 
Except for the British and French at Saloniki and the Italians 
at Avlona, the Teutons and the Bulgarians had cleared the whole 
Balkan- peninsula south of the Danube of their enemies and 
were in complete possession. The railroad running down 
through Serbia and Bulgaria to Constantinople was repaired 
where the Serbians had had time to injure it, and communica- 
tions were established between Berlin and the capital of the 
Ottoman Empire, which had been one of the main objects of 
the campaign. 

In the beginning, however, the Bulgarians did not venture 
to push their lines across the Greek frontier, though this is a 
part of Macedonia which is essentially Bulgarian in population. 
There are several reasons why the Bulgarians should have re- 
strained themselves. The traditional hatred which the Greeks 
feel for the Bulgarians, so bitter that an American cannot com- 
prehend its depths, would undoubtedly have been so roused by 
the presence of Bulgarian soldiers on Greek soil that the king 
would not have been able to have opposed successfully Venizelos 
and his party, who were strong adherents of the Allies. This 
would not have suited German policy, though to the victorious 
Bulgarians it would probably not have made much difference. 
Another reason was, as has developed since, that the Bulgarian 
communications were but feebly organized, and a further ad- 
vance would have been extremely precarious. The roads through 
Macedonia are few, and the best are not suited to automobile 
traffic. The few prisoners that the French and English were 
able to take evinced the fact that the Bulgarians were being 
badly supplied and that the soldiers were starved to the point 
of exhaustion. And finally, from a military point of view, the 
Allied troops were now in the most favorable position. Their 
lines were drawn in close to their base, Saloniki, with short, 
interior communications. The Bulgarians, on the contrary, 



HOLDING FAST IN SALONIKI 215 

were obliged to spread themselves around the wide semicircle 
formed by the Anglo-French lines. To have taken Saloniki 
would have been for them an extremely costly undertaking, if, 
indeed, it would have at all been possible. 

On the other hand, it was equally obvious that the Allies were 
not, and would not be, for a long time to come, in a position to 
direct an effective offensive against the Bulgarians in Mace- 
donia. That they and their German allies realized this was 
apparent from the fact that the German forces now began with- 
drawing in large numbers. 

The Bulgarians, however, did not attempt to assist their Ger- 
man allies on any of the other fronts, a fact which throws some 
light on the Bulgarian policy. Naturally, it is in the interests 
of the Bulgarians that the Teutons should win the war, there- 
fore it might have been expected that they would support them 
on other fronts, notably in Galicia. That this has never been 
done shows conclusively that the alliance with the Germans is 
not popular among the Bulgarians. They have, rather re- 
luctantly, been willing to fight on their own territory, or what 
they considered rightly their own territory, but they have not 
placed themselves at the disposal of the Germans on the other 
fronts. It is obvious that Ferdinand has not trusted to oppose 
his soldiers against the Russians. 

Meanwhile the forces under Sarrail were being daily aug- 
mented and their position about Saloniki was being strength- 
ened. By this time all the Serbians who had fled through Al- 
bania, including the aged King Peter, had been transported to 
the island of Corfu, where a huge sanitarium was established, 
for few were the refugees that did not require some medical 
treatment. Cholera did, in fact, break out among them, which 
caused a protest on the part of the Greek Government. Just how 
many Serbians arrived at Corfu has never been definitely stated, 
but recent reports would indicate that they numbered approxi- 
mately 100,000. All those fit for further campaigning needed to 
be equipped anew and rearmed. 



216 THE STORY OP THE GREAT WAR 

CHAPTER XXX 

MILITARY AND POLITICAL EVENTS 
IN GREECE 

ON March 27, 1916, a squadron of seven German aeroplanes 
attempted to make a raid on Saloniki. Their purpose was 
to drop bombs on the British and French warships in the har- 
bor, but the fire of the Allied guns frustrated their efforts and 
four of the aeroplanes were brought down. But during the 
encounter some of these aircraft dropped bombs into the city 
and twenty Greek civilians were killed, one of the bombs falling 
before the residence of General Moschopoulos, commander of 
the Greek forces in Saloniki. 

Deep resentment against the Germans flared up throughout 
Greece on account of this raid, which found expression in bitter 
editorials in the Liberal press against the continued neutrality 
of Greece. The question of the declaration of martial law was 
raised in an exciting session of the Chamber of Deputies, which 
lasted till late at night. The Government discouraged all hos- 
tile comment on the action of the Germans, and Premier Skou- 
loudis declined to continue a debate involving discussion of 
foreign relations "because the highest interests impose silence.'' 
Notwithstanding the attitude of the government the raid was 
characterized in the chamber as "simply assassination'' and as 
"German frightfulness." Plans were started to hold mass meet- 
ings in Athens and Saloniki, but the police forbade them. At 
the funerals of the victims, however, large crowds gathered in 
spite of the efforts of the police to disperse them and the cere- 
monies were marked by cries of "Down with the barbarians!" 
and "Down with the Germans!" 

Hardly had this agitation died down when Venizelos, who for 
a long time had remained silent, so aloof from politics that, to 
quote his own statement, "I do not even read the reports of 
the proceedings in the Chamber," resumed active participation 
in the nation's affairs by giving out a lengthy interview to the 



EVENTS IN GREECE 217 

press, as well as with an editorial in his own personal organ. 
This latter occupied an entire page and reviewed completely the 
position of the Greek monarch since the dissolution of the last 
Chamber of Deputies. Referring to the king's alleged char- 
acterization of himself as a '^dreamer," M. Venizelos said : 

*'By keeping the country in a state of chronic peaceful war 
through purposeless mobilization, the present government has 
brought Greece to the verge of economic, material and moral 
bankruptcy. This policy, unhappily, is not a dream, but down- 
right folly." He further laid great stress on the Bulgarian peril, 
pointing out that the utmost to be gained by the present policy 
would be to leave Greece the same size> while Bulgaria, flushed 
with victory, trained for war, enlarged by the addition of Serbia 
and Macedonia and allied with the Turks, would not wait long 
before falling on her southern neighbor. "Who thinks," he 
continued, '*that under these conditions that Greece, unaided, 
could drive the Bulgars from Macedonia, once they have seized 
it, is a fool. The politicians who do not see this inevitable dan- 
ger, are blind, and unfortunate are the kings following such poli- 
ticians, and more unfortunate still the lands where sovereigns 
fall their victims." 

And, indeed, the ex-premier's references to the economic ruin 
of the country were strongly supported by the dispatches that 
had for some time been coming from the Greek capital. "Greece," 
said a prominent official to a press correspondent, "is much more 
likely to be starved into war than Germany is to be starved out 
of it." 

The deficit in the Greek treasury for the previous year was^ 
now shown to have amounted to £17,000,000, or $85,000,000. 
The budget for 1916 authorized an expenditure of $100,000,000, 
which was double the entire state revenues. For the masses the 
situation was daily becoming more difficult. The streets of 
Athens were said to be alive with the beggars, while the island of 
Samos was in a sporadic state of revolt. At Piraeus and Patras 
there were disquieting demonstrations of popular discontent 
with the increasing cost of living. Many commodities had more 
than doubled in price. This situation was largely due to the 



218 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

mobilization, as in the case of the fishermen. As most of them 
were with the colors, the price of fish, which had hitherto been 
one of the main food supplies, had become prohibitive to the 
poorer families. 

The sentiment of the people was further expressed on April 
7, 1916, when the Greeks celebrated the 100th anniversary of 
their national independence. On this occasion Venizelos ap- 
peared in public for the first time since his retirement from 
political life, after he had been obliged to resign by the king. 
When he left the cathedral in Athens, where services were held, 
thousands of persons followed his motor car, cheering enthusi- 
astically. Finally his car could proceed no farther, being densely 
packed about by the people, who broke forth into deafening 
cheers and shouts of "Long live our national leader!" and 
"Long live Venizelos V* 

At about this time, on April 14, 1916, a new critical situation 
was precipitated between the Allies and the Greek Government. 
On that date the British Minister at Athens had asked per- 
mission of the Greek Government to transport Serbian troops 
from Corfu to Saloniki by way of Patras, Larissa, and Volo, 
which involved the use of the Peloponnesian railway. This was 
peremptorily refused as involving a breach of Greek neutrality. 

Under ordinary conditions transports would have conveyed 
the Serbians from Corfu to Saloniki, such a trip requiring less 
than three days. But the German submarines had been so 
active in these waters of late that the Allies desired to evade 
this danger, contending that it was with the connivance of the 
Greek Government officials that the Germans were able to main- 
tain submarine bases among the islands. Moreover, they also 
contended that the cases were different from what it would have 
been had the request concerned French or British troops. The 
Greeks were allies of the Serbians, bound to them by a formal 
treaty, and though they had refused to assist them in a military 
sense, as the terms of the treaty demanded, they might at least 
help them in their need. Two days later, on April 16, 1916, the 
Chamber of Deputies adjourned for the session, which left the 
whole matter in the hands of the government. However, this 



EVENTS IN GREECE 219 

question hung fire for some time, and later dispatches would 
indicate that the Allies did not press their point, for eventually 
when the arrival of the Serbian troops in Saloniki was an- 
nounced, it was stated incidentally that they had come by means 
of transports. 

But meanwhile Venizelos was continuing his campaign 
against the ministry. On April 16, 1916, the Liberals had at- 
tempted to hold several public meetings in Athens, which were 
vigorously broken up by the police, or, according to some re- 
ports, by agents of the government in civilian dress. The follow- 
ing day Venizelos gave out an interview to the press in which 
he said: 

"I beg you to bring the events of yesterday and the earnest 
protest of a majority of the Greeks to the knowledge of the 
American people, who have struggled for so long to establish 
free speech as the fundamental right of a free people. Here 
in Greece we are confronted by the question whether we are to 
have a democracy presided over by a king or whether at this 
hour of our history we must accept the doctrine of the divine 
rights of kings. The present government represents in no sense 
the majority of the Greek people. We Liberals, in the course of 
a year received the vote of the majority. At the last election, 
which was nothing more than a burlesque on the free exercise 
of the right of suffrage, we were not willing to participate in 
a farcical formality. . . . Now it is even sought to deny us the 
right of free speech. Our meetings were held within inclosed 
buildings. Those who came to them were invited, but the police 
threw out our doorkeepers, put in their own and let enter 
whomsoever they, the police, wanted to be present at the 
\neetings." 

It was now evident that Venizelos had determined to fight the 
present government to the bitter end. 

On May 7, 1916, it was demonstrated that the contention of the 
king, that the agitation in favor of Venizelos and the demon- 
strations in his favor were largely artificial, was not true, in one 
electoral district of Greece at least. Venizelos had been nomi- 
nated candidate for deputy to the National Assembly in My- 



220 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

telene, and when the election took place, on the above date, he 
was elected with practically no opposition and amid a tremendous 
enthusiasm. On the following day, May 8, 1916, at a by-election 
in Kavalla, Eastern Macedonia, Constantine Jourdanod, a can- 
didate of the Venizelos Liberty party, was also elected .Ci deputy 
to the National Assembly by an 85 per cent majority vote. 

But these were merely demonstrations — meant merely as in- 
dications of popular sentiment — for neither Venizelos nor the 
Kavalla representative had any intention of taking their seats 
in the chamber, which they considered illegally elected. 

Meanwhile practically no military activity had been displayed. 
On March 17, 1916, a dispatch was issued from Vienna to the 
effect that the Austrian army had reached the vicinity of Avlona 
and had engaged the Italians in pitched battle outside the town, 
into which they were driving them. But apparently there was 
little truth in this report, for some weeks later a body of Italian 
troops were reported to have crossed the Greek frontier in 
Epirus, which caused an exchange of notes between the Greek 
and Italian governments, by no means the best of friends, on 
account of their conflicting ambitions in Albania. Further en- 
counters between both Austrians and Bulgarians and the 
Italians in Avlona were reported during the spring, but appar- 
ently the Italians were well able to hold their own. 

There were, however, indications that the Allies in Saloniki 
had been steadily strengthening their positions and augmenting 
their numbers, and that, conscious of their growing strength, 
they were throwing out their lines. In the first week in May 
came a dispatch announcing that thay had occupied Fiorina, a 
small town only some fifteen miles south of Monastir, though 
still on Greek territory. 

That there was really some truth in these announcements; 
that the Allies were really showing some indications of expand- 
ing their lines and were assuming a threatening attitude, was 
indicated by the next move made on the board, this time by the 
Bulgarians; a move, however, which was obviously of a defen- 
sive nature, thoug'h at the time it seemed to portend a Bulgarian 
offensive. 



EVENTS IN GREECE 221 

On May 26, 1916, the Bulgarians for the first time ventured 
across the Greek frontier. And not only did they cross the 
frontier, but, instead of attacking the Allies, they forced the 
Greek forces occupying a point of strategic value to evacuate it 
and occupied it themselves. 

Fort Rupel, on the Struma River, and north of Demir Hissar, 
is about six miles within Greek territory. It commands a deep 
gorge, or defile, which forms a sort of natural passageway 
through which troops can be marched easily into Greek territory 
from Bulgaria. To either side tower difficult mountains and 
rocky hills. On account of these natural features Greece had 
fortified this defile after the Balkan Wars so that she might 
command it in case of a Bulgarian invasion. On the commanding 
prominences the Greeks had also built fortifications. 

It was the chief, the most important, of these forts that the 
Bulgarians took. A courier was sent forward with notice to the 
Greek commander that he had two hours in which to evacuate 
the position with his troops. This he did peacefully, and before 
evening the Bulgarians were installed, though it was said that 
they had given due assurances that their occupation was merely 
a temporary measure undertaken as a defensive precaution, and 
that as soon as the need should cease the fort would be returned 
to Greece. 

On the following day came the announcement that the Bui' 
garians, in strong force, had deployed from Fort Rupel and had 
also occupied Fort Dragotin and Fort Kanivo. At the same 
time unusual activity on the part of the Bulgarians was also 
reported from Xanthi. Here, on the left bank of the Mesta 
River, which for some distance from its mouth forms the Bulgar- 
Greek boundary, the Bulgarians were collecting material for 
building pontoon bridges. 

Naturally this action on the part of the Bulgarians caused 
wild excitement throughout Greece. The government organs 
stated that the forts had been taken by German forces, but this 
was soon proved to be untrue. 

In reporting this movement the Bulgarian Government added, 
by way of explanation and excuse: 



222 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"Two months ago the Anglo-French troops began the 
abandonment of the fortified camp at Saloniki and started a 
movement toward our frontier. The principal enemy forces 
were stationed in the Vardar Valley and to the eastward through 
Dovatupete to the Struma Valley, and to the westward through 
the district of Subotsko and Vodena to Fiorina. A part of the 
reconstituted Serbian army has also been landed at Saloniki. 
Artillery fire has occurred daily during the past month.** 

Evidently Bulgaria was anxious to impress on the outside 
world the fact that she had invaded Greek territory entirely 
for defensive purposes, for only several days later a correspond- 
ent of the Associated Press was allowed to send through a report 
of an inspection he had made of the Bulgarian camp, something 
that had not previously been permitted. From this report it 
was evident that the Bulgarian army was not contemplating 
a forward movement. 

These assurances probably had their effect in calming the 
excitement in Greece, a result which Germany was no doubt 
wishful of obtaining. Nevertheless the fact that the govern- 
ment had quietly permitted the Bulgarians to take the forts was 
not by any means calculated to increase its popularity with 
the masses and made for the strengthening of the Venizelos 
party. 

In spite of the formal protests which the Greek Government 
made against the occupation of its territory and fortifications 
by Bulgarian troops, there was not a little reason for suspecting 
that the Skouloudis government was working on some secret 
understanding, if not with the Bulgarians, then with the Ger- 
mans. At least this was the general impression that was 
created in France and England, as reflected in the daily press. 

On June 8, 1916, it was reported from Saloniki that the 
Allies were about to institute a commercial blockade of Greek 
ports, preliminary to presenting certain demands, the exact 
nature of which was not given out, but which were expected to 
include the demobilization of the Greek army. 

The notice of the blockade again aroused the excitement of 
the Greek population, but not so much against the Allies as 



EVENTS IN GREECE 223 

against the Skouloudis government. And this was because what 
the Allies were expected to demand was just what the majority 
of the Greek masses seemed most to want, the demobilization of 
the army ; the return to their vocations of the thousands of work- 
ingmen with the colors. The Venizelos party was especially in 
favor of such a measure, for its leaders claimed that it was 
because the mass of the voters was with the army and was 
therefore deprived of their suffrage, that the sentiment of the 
Greek people could not be determined. 

On June 9, 1916, it was announced from Athens that the king 
had signed an order demobilizing twelve glasses of the army, 
amounting to 150,000 men. But this order was not, for some 
reason, put into execution, nor was there any indication of the 
Allies putting an end to the blockade. On the contrary, on the 
same day it was announced that the Greek captain of the port 
at Saloniki had been removed and a French naval officer had 
been put in his place. Entry to the port had also been refused 
to Greek ships from Kavala, and an embargo had been placed 
on Greek ships in French ports. Obviously the Allies were 
demanding something more than the demobilization of the army. 
As a matter of fact, they had not yet formally presented their 
demands. 

From later reports it was shown that the Allies had prepared 
their demands formally and that they were to have been pre- 
sented on June 13, 1916. But the evening before, on the 12th, 
certain events took place in Athens which caused them to delay 
the presentation of their note, holding it back for revision. 

On the 12th a military fete had been held at the Stadium, 
at which members of the British Legation were present, includ- 
ing the military attache and Admiral Palmer, the new chief of 
the British Naval Mission. When the king and his suite ap- 
peared at the Stadium, Greek police officers immediately 
grouped themselves around the British representatives, giving 
the inference that the royal party needed to be protected from 
them. The indignant Englishmen immediately left the Stadium. 
After the fete a mob collected in the street and began a demon- 
stration against the Allies. The crowd was escorted by fifty or 

0— War St. 5 



224 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

sixty policemen in uniform. It first marched to the Hotel 
Grande Bretagne, where the French Minister resided, and began 
shouting insulting remarks. Next the British Legation build- 
ing was visited and a similar hostile demonstration was made. 
Thence the mob proceeded to the office of the "Nea Hellas," a 
Venizelist journal, hurled stones through the windows and as- 
saulted the editor and his staff. The editor, in defending him- 
self, fired a revolver over the heads of the mob, whereupon he 
was arrested and thrown into jail. During the same evening 
another demonstration was made in a theater, in which the 
performers made most insulting remarks regarding the repre- 
sentatives of the Allies. Several meetings were held in other 
parts of the city at the same time, at which resolutions were 
passed against the Allies, one of these resolutions denouncing 
the conduct of the Allies toward neutral countries, "and 
especially their conduct toward the President of the United 
States." 

Finally, on June 23, 1916, the full text of the demands of the 
Allies on Greece, signed by the representatives of France, Great 
Britain, and Russia and indorsed by Italy, was given out, simul- 
taneously with the official announcement that all the conditions 
had been accepted by the Greek Government. The text was as 
follows : 

"As they have already solemnly declared verbally and in 
writing, the three Protecting Powers of Greece do not ask her to 
emerge from her neutrality. Of this fact they furnish a striking 
proof by placing foremost among their demands the complete 
demobilization of the Greek army in order to insure to the 
Greek people tranquillity and peace. But they have numerous 
and legitimate grounds for suspicion against the Greek Govern- 
ment, whose attitude toward them has not been in conformity 
with repeated engagements, nor even with the principles of loyal 
neutrality. 

"Thus, the Greek Government has all too often favored the 
activities of certain foreigners who have openly striven to lead 
astray Greek public opinion, to distort the national feeling of 
Greece, and to create in Hellenic territory hostile organizations 



EVENTS IN GREECE 225 

which are contrary to the neutrality of the country and tend to 
compromise the security of the military and naval forces of the 
Allies. 

"The entrance of Bulgarian forces into Greece and the occu- 
pation of Fort Rupel and other strategic points, with the con- 
nivance of the Hellenic Government, constitute for the allied 
troops a new threat which imposes on the three powers the 
obligation of demanding guarantees and immediate measures. 

"Furthermore, the Greek Constitution has been disregarded, 
the free exercise of universal suffrage has been impeded, the 
Chamber of Deputies has been dissolved a second time within 
a period of less than a year against the clearly expressed will 
of the people, and the electorate has been summoned to the polls 
during a period of mobilization, with the result that the present 
chamber only represents an insignificant portion of the elec- 
toral college, and that the whole country has been subjected to 
a system of oppression and of political tyranny, and has been 
kept in leading strings without regard for the legitimate repre- 
sentations of the powers. 

"These powers have not only the right, but also the impera- 
tive duty, of protesting against such violations of the liberties, 
of which they are the guardians in the eyes of the Greek 
people. 

"The hostile attitude of the Hellenic Government toward the 
powers, who have emancipated Greece from an alien yoke, and 
have secured her independence, and the evident collusion of the 
present cabinet with the enemies of these powers, constitute 
for them still stronger reasons for acting with firmness, in 
reliance upon the rights which they derive from treaties, and 
which have been vindicated for the preservation of the Greek 
people upon every occasion upon which it has been menaced in 

I the exercise of its rights or in the enjoyment of its liberties. 
"The Protecting Powers accordingly see themselves compelled 
to exact immediate application of the following measures: 
f "1. Real and complete demobilization of the Greek Army, 
hvhich shall revert as speedily as possible to a peace footing. 
"2. Immediate substitution for the existing ministry of a 
I 



¥ 



226 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

business cabinet devoid of any political prejudice and present- 
ing all the necessary guarantees for the application of that 
benevolent neutrality which Greece is pledged to observe toward 
the Allied Powers and for the honesty of a fresh appeal to the 
electors. 

"3. Immediate dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies, fol- 
lowed by fresh elections within the time limits provided by the 
constitution, and as soon as general demobilization will have 
restored the electoral body to its normal condition. 

"4. Dismissal, in agreement with the Allied Powers, of 
ijertain police officials whose attitude, influenced by foreign 
guidance, has facilitated the perpetration of notorious assaults 
upon peaceable citizens and the insults which have been leveled 
at the Allied Legations and their members. 

"The Protecting Powers, who continue to be inspired with 
the utmost friendliness and benevolence toward Greece, but who 
are, at the same time, determined to secure, without discussioa 
or delay, the application of these indispensable measures, caa 
but leave to the Hellenic Government entire responsibility for 
the events which might supervene if their just demands were 
not immediately accepted." 

The treaties referred to in the note, on which the "three 
Protecting Powers" base their right to intervene in the affairs 
of Greece to enforce the carrying out of her constitution, date 
back to the early period of last century, when the three nations 
in question assisted the newly liberated Greeks in establishing 
a government and assumed a semiprotectorate. 

This note was presented to Premier Skouloudis, but he refused 
to accept it on the ground that no Greek Cabinet existed, as it 
had been deposited at the Foreign Office while he was on nis 
way back from the residence of the king, where he had presented 
the resignation of the ministry. 

The people were unaware of what had happened until evening, 
when newspapers and handbills, distributed broadcast, made 
known the text of the demands. King Constantine returned 
hastily to Athens. All the troops in the city were ordered under 
arms. The Deputies were summoned to the Chamber, where 



EVENTS IN GREECE 227 

Skouloudis announced that he had resigned, after which the 
Chamber immediately adjourned again. 

On the following day the king summoned Alexander Zaimis, 
a Greek politician, reputed to be in favor of the Allies, to form 
a new Cabinet. He immediately organized a new ministry, 
comprising himself as Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs ; 
General Callaris, Minister of War and Marine; George Rallis, 
Minister of Finance; Phocian Negria, of Communications; 
Colonel Harlambis, of the Interior; Anthony Momperatos, of 
Justice; Constantine Libourkis, of Instruction, and Colligas, of 
National Economy. The first act of the new Cabinet was to 
announce a new election of Deputies to the National Chamber, 
to take place on August 7, 1916. The new Premier also an- 
nounced that the demands of the Allies would be carried out 
to the letter. As a token of good faith, the chief of police of 
Athens was immediately dismissed and Colonel Zimbrakakis, 
who had been police chief during the Venizelos regime, was 
installed in his place. The Allies, on their part, at once raised 
the blockade and agreed to advance Greece a loan to tide over 
her present financial difficulties. 

For some days afterward large and enthusiastic pro- 
Venizelos demonstrations took place in Athens and other Greek 
cities, in which the labor unions and the soldiers were reported 
to take a very prominent part. Meanwhile the demobilization 
of the Greek army was begun in good faith. 

During this period there had been no further aggression, or 
advance, on the part of the Bulgarians. And while there had 
been a number of German officers present at the demand for 
the evacuation of Fort Rupel by the Greeks, as well as a small 
force of Gennan engineers, all the reports emanating from 
Bulgaria indicated, directly or indirectly, that the German 
forces had been almost entirely drawn away from the Balkans, 
to meet the gradually increasing pressure that both the Russians 
on the eastern front and the English and French on the western 
front were bringing to exert on the Teutonic forces. Being 
practically left to themselves, for the Turks, too, had their hands 
full in their Asiatic provinces, and considering the need of 



228 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

forces for garrison duty in conquered territory, especially in 
Albania and upper Serbia, as well as the army needed to watch 
the movements of the Rumanians, it was doubtful if the Bul- 
garians had more than 300,000 men to spare for their lines 
opposing those of the Allies at Saloniki. 

The Allies, on the other hand, had been daily waxing stronger. 
At least 100,000 Serbians had been added to their forces about 
Saloniki before the beginning of August. There were, at this 
time, about 350,000 French and British soldiers in Saloniki, so 
that the total force was not very far short of half a million. 
General Mahon, the British commander, had gone to Egypt, to 
superintend the removal to Saloniki of the British troops there, 
who had been provided as a defending force when the danger 
of a German attack in that section seemed imminent. These 
forces were estimated at another 200,000. Added to this the 
favorable position of the Allies from a strategic point of view, 
it was obvious, by the middle of August, that if active hostilities 
were to break out on the Saloniki front very shortly, the initia- 
tive would most likely come from the Allies. 



PART V~AUSTRO-ITALIAN CAMPAIGN 



CHAPTER XXXI 

RESUMPTION OF OPERATIONS ON THE 
ITALIAN FRONT 

THROUGHOUT the early part of March, 1916, military oper- 
ations on the Italian front were very restricted. At the end 
of February the atmospheric conditions, which up till then had 
remained exceptionally favorable, changed suddenly, giving 
place to a period of bad weather, with meteorological phenomena 
particularly remarkable in that theater of the operations, which 
among all those of the European war is the most Alpine and the 
most difficult. In the mountain zone snow fell very heavily, 
causing frequent great avalanches and sometimes the movement 
of extensive snow fields. Communications of every kind were 
seriously interrupted. Not only shelters and huts, but in many 
cases columns of men and supplies on the march were swept 
away. The unceasing tempest made it difficult and in some cases 
quite impossible to render any aid, but owing to an organized 
service for such eventualities, ample and effective assistance 
was given in the great majority of cases. This led to the speedy 
restoration of communications and supplies. Nevertheless the 
distressing but inevitable loss of human lives was comparatively 
large. 

In the lowland zone heavy and constant rains caused land- 
slides in the lines of defense and shelters. The rise of the rivers 
and the consequent floods soon made the ground impassable. 
Even the main roads were interrupted at several points. In 
the whole theater of operations it was a regular battle against 

adverse circumstances. 

229 



230 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Austrian troops in many places used the heavy snowfall to 
their advantage. By means of mines, bombs and artillery fire 
they produced avalanches artificially. Thus on March 8, 1916, 
some damage was done in this manner to Italian positions in 
the Lagaznos zone. On the same day Italian forces succeeded 
in pushing their lines forward for a slight distance in the zone 
between the lofana peaks (in the Dolomites), as well as in the 
valley of the middle Isonzo" and in the Zagara sector. Along the 
entire front vigorous artillery fire was maintained. 

The artillery combat gradually increased in vehemence 
during the next few days, especially on the Isonzo front, indi- 
cating a resumption of offensive movements. About the middle 
of March, 1916, Italian troops began again to attack the 
Austrian positions. On March 15, 1916, a lively artillery duel 
and a series of attacks and counterattacks were repulsed from 
the Isonzo front. 

Italian infantry carried out a number of successive attacks 
in the region of Monte Rombon in the Plezzo basin and on the 
height commanding the position of Lucinico, southeast of San 
Martino del Carso. After an intensive preparation by artillery 
fire the Austrians, on March 16, 1916, launched at dawn a coun- 
terattack against the positions conquered by the Italians the day 
before, but were at first everywhere repulsed, suffering heavy 
losses. 

The Austrian concentration of artillery fire, in which guns 
of all caliber were employed, lasted uninterruptedly throughout 
the day, forcing the Italians to evacuate the positions during 
the course of the night. 

The Fella sector of the Carinthian front and also the Col di 
Lana sector in the Tyrol were shelled by Italian artillery. Ital- 
ian airmen dropped bombs on Trieste without doing any damage. 

Again atmospheric conditions enforced a lull in military oper- 
ations during the next few days and brought to a sudden end 
what had seemed to be an extensive offensive movement on the 
part of the Italian forces on the Isonzo front. 

On March 17, 1916, however, violent fighting again developed 
on the Isonzo front in the region of the Tolmino bridgehead. It 



RESUMPTION OF OPERATIONS 231 

began with greatly increased artillery activity along the entire 
sector between Tolmino and Flitsch. Later that day the Austro- 
Hungarians launched an attack against the Italian forces which 
netted them considerable ground on the northern part of the 
bridgehead, as well as some 500 prisoners. 

The battle in the Tolmino sector continued on March 18 and 19, 
1916, and to a slighter degree on March 20, 1916. On the first 
of these three days the Austro-Hungarian troops succeeded in 
advancing beyond the road between Celo and Ciginj and to the 
west of the St. Maria Mountain. Italian counterattacks failed. 
South of the Mrzli, too, the Italians lost a position and had to 
withdraw toward Gabrije, losing some 300 prisoners. Increased 
artillery activity was noticeable on the Carinthian front, par- 
ticularly in the Fella sector; in the Dolomites, especially in the 
Col di Lana sector; in the Sugana Valley and at some points on 
the west Tyrol front. Goritz, too, was again subjected to heavy 
Italian gunfire. 

On the following day, March 19, 1916, fighting continued at 
the Tolmino bridgehead as a result of Italian efforts to conquer 
positions firmly in Austro-Hungarian hands. The number of 
Italians captured reached 925 and the number of machine guns 
taken was increased to seven. Several Italian attacks against 
Mrzli and Krn (Monte Nero) broke down. On the Rombon 
the Austro-Hungarians captured a position and took 145 Italians 
and two machine guns. 

Lively fighting continued on the Carinthian front. In the 
Tyrol frontier district Italian artillery again held the Col di 
Lana section and some points south of the front under heavy 
artillery fire. 

On the Goritz bridgehead Austro-Hungarians in the morning 
set fire to an Italian position before the southern part of Podgora 
Height. In the afternoon Austro-Hungarian artillery shelled 
heavily the front before the bridgehead. During the night they 
ejected Italian forces from a trench before Bevma. 

Again on March 20, 1916, Italian counterattacks against the 
positions captured by the Austro-Hungarians during the pre- 
ceding days failed. Again fighting slowed down for a few days. 



232 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

As usual, resumption of military operations was indicated by 
increased artillery fire. 

In the Rovereto zone on March 23, 1916, an artillery duel was 
followed during the night by Austro-Hungarian attacks against 
Italian positions at Moriviccio, near Rio Comeraso, and in the 
Adige and Terragnole Valleys. These were repulsed. Through- 
out the theater of operations bad weather limited, however, ar- 
tillery action on the Isonzo, which was active only near Tolmino 
and the heights northwest of Goritz. 

On March 25, 1916, Italian artillery again bombarded the 
Doberdo Plateau (south of Goritz), the Fella Valley and various 
points on the Tyrolese front. East of Ploecken Pass (on the 
Camia front) Italian positions were penetrated and Italian at- 
tacks repulsed near Marter (Sugana Valley). 

Severe fighting took place on March 26, 1916, at several points. 
At the Goritz bridgehead the Austro-Hungarians captured an 
Italian position fronting on the northern portion of Podgora 
Heights, taking 525 prisoners. Throughout the entire day and 
the following night the Italian troops in vain attempted to regain 
the positions which they had lost the day before east of Ploeckcoi 
Pass. 

In the Doberdo sector on March 27, 1916, the artillery was 
again active on both sides. Italian attacks on the north slope 
of Monte San Michele and near the village of San Martino were 
repulsed. East of Selz a severe engagement developed. 

In the Ploecken sector all Italian attacks were beaten back 
under heavy losses. Before the portion of the Carinthian front 
held by the Eighth Chasseurs Battalion more than 500 dead 
Italians were observed. Austro-Hungarian airmen dropped 
bombs on railroads in the province of Venice. 

Especially severe fighting occurred once more in the region 
of the Gonby bridgehead during March 27, 28 and 29, 1916. On 
the last of these days the Italians lost some 350 prisoners. With- 
out cessation the guns thundered on both sides on these three 
days on the Doberdo Plateau, along the Fella and Ploecken sec- 
tors, in the Dolomites and to the east of Selz. Scattered Italian 
attacks at various points failed. Then, with the end of 



RESUMPTION OF OPERATIONS 233 

March, the weather again necessitated a stoppage of military 
operations. 

An interesting description of the territory in which most of 
this fighting occurred was rendered by a special correspondent 
of the London "Times" who, in part, says : 

"There is no prospect on earth quite like the immense irreg- 
ular crescent of serrated peak and towering mountain wall that 
is thrown around Italy on the north, as it unrolls itself from the 
plains of Lombardy and Venetia. How often one has gazed at 
it in sheer delight over its bewildering wealth of contrasting 
color and fantastic form, its effect of light and shade and 
measureless space ! But now, for these many months past, keen 
eyes have been bent upon it; eyes, not of the artist or the poet, 
but those of the soldier. 

"It was such a pair of military eyes that I had beside me a 
day or two ago, as I stood upon the topmost roofs of a high 
tower, in a certain little town in northern Italy, where much 
history has been made of late; and, since the owner of the eyes 
was likewise the possessor of a very well-ordered mind and a 
gift of lucid exposition, I found myself able to grasp the main 
elements of the extraordinarily complex strategic problem with 
which the chiefs of the Italian army have had to grapple. As I 
looked and listened I felt that the chapter which Italy is con- 
tributing to the record of the greatest war of all time is one of 
which she will have every reason to be proud when she has at 
length brought it to its victorious conclusion. 

''There are few such viewpoints as this. In the luminous still- 
ness of a perfect morning of the Italian summer I could look 
north, and east, and west, upon more than a third of the battle 
line, that goes snaking among the mountains from near the 
Swiss frontier to the Adriatic. And what a length of line it is! 
In England some people seem to think this is a little war that 
Italy has on hand, little in comparison with the campaigns in 
France and Russia. But it is not small, weighed even in that 
exacting balance. The front measures out at over 450 miles, 
which is not very far short of the length of ribbon of trench and 
earthwork that is drawn across western Europe. 



234 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"Here, as there, every yard is held and guarded. It is true 
that there is not a continuous row of sentries ; for on the Austro- 
Italian front there are places where the natural barriers are 
impassable even for the Alpine troops, who will climb to the 
aerie of the eagles. But wherever nature has not barred the way 
against both sides alike the trenches and fortified galleries run, 
stretching across the saddle between two inaccessible peaks, 
ringing around the shoulder of a mountain, dipping it into the val- 
ley, and then rising again to the very summit or passing over it. 

"There are guns everywhere — machine guns, mountain guns, 
field guns, huge guns of position, 6-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch — ^which 
have been dragged or carried with all their mountings, their 
equipment, their tools and appurtenances, up to their stations, 
it may be, 3,000, 4,000, 6,000 feet above the level. And at those 
heights are the larders of shell which must always be kept full 
so that the carnivorous mouths of the man-eaters may not go 
hungry even for the single hour of the single day which, at any 
point, an attack may develop. 

"Such is the long Italian battle line. When you know what 
it is you are not surprised that here and there, and now and 
again, it should bend and give a little before an enemy better 
supplied with heavy artillery, and much favored by the topo- 
graphical conditions ; for he has the higher mountain passes be- 
hind him instead of in front, and is coming down the great Al- 
pine stairway instead of going up. 

"That of course is the salient feature of the campaign. The 
Italians are going up, the Austrians coming, or trying to come, 
down. On the loftier uplands, range beyond range, in enemy 
territory, the Austrians before the war had their forts and forti- 
fied posts and their strategic roads ; and almost everywhere along 
the front they have observing stations which overlook, at greater 
or less distance, the Italian lines. Thus the Italians have had to 
make their advance, and build their trenches, and place their 
guns, in the face of an enemy who lies generally much above 
them, sometimes so much above them that he can watch them 
from his nests of earth and rock as though he were soaring in 
an aeroplane." 



ON THE AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONT 235 



CHAPTER XXXII 

THE SPRING OP 1916 ON THE AUSTRO- 
ITALIAN FRONT 

DURING the early part of the spring of 1916, a large number 
of engagements took place at many scattered points along 
the entire Austro-Italian front. Neither side apparently had 
determined as yet upon any definite plan of operations, or, if 
they had, they took special pains to avoid a premature disclosure. 
To a certain extent the fighting which occurred was little more 
than of a reconnoitering nature. Each side attempted with all 
the facilities at its command to improve its positions, even if 
only in a small way, and to find out weak spots in the lines of 
its adversary. It was only natural that during the process of 
this type of warfare, fortune should smile one day on one side 
and turn its back promptly the next day. 

During the first week of April, 1916, there was little to report 
anywhere along the front. On the 6th, however, considerable 
artillery activity developed along the Isonzo front, where the 
Italians shelled once m.ore the city of Goritz. This activity grad- 
ually increased in vehemence. At the end of about two weeks 
it decreased slightly for a few days, only to be taken up again 
with renewed vigor and to be maintained with hardly a break 
during the balance of April, 1916. 

Coincident with this artillery duel there developed a series of 
violent engagements on the Carso plateau to the east of the lower 
Isonzo. The first of these occurred on April 12, 1916, when 
Italian advance detachments approached Austrian trenches be- 
tween Monte San Michelo and San Martino, wrecking them with 
hand grenades and bombs. Another engagement of somewhat 
greater importance occurred on April 22, 1916, east of Selz. 
Italian infantry, supported by artillery, despite obstinate resist- 
ance occupied strong trenches 350 meters long. The Austrians 
receiving reenforcements, violently counterattacked twice during 
the night, the second time succeeding in retaking part of the lost 



236 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

trenches. After a deadly hand-to-hand struggle in which the 
Austrians suffered severely, the Italians drove them out, captur- 
ing 133, including six officers, two machine guns, 200 rifles, sev- 
eral flame throwers, and numerous cases of ammunition and 
bombs. 

The following day, April 23, 1916, Austrian artillery of all 
calibers violently shelled the trenches occupied east of Selz, oblig- 
ing the Italians to evacuate a small section north of the Selz 
Valley, which was especially exposed to the Austrian fire. An- 
other strong attack, supported by a very destructive gunfire 
was launched by the Austrians against these trenches on April 
25, 1916, and enabled them to reoccupy some of the ground pre- 
viously lost. 

Two days later the Italians attempted to regain these positions. 
At first they succeeded in entering the Austrian trenches on a 
larger front than they had held originally, but when they mani- 
fested an intention to continue the attack, the Austro-Hungari- 
ans, by counterattacks drove them into their former positions 
and even ejected them from these in bitter hand-to-hand fighting, 
thereby regaining all their former positions. 

During the balance of April, and up to May 15, 1916, military 
operations on the entire Isonzo front were restricted to artillery 
bombardments, which, however, at various times, became ex- 
tremely violent, especially so with respect to Goritz and the sur- 
rounding positions. 

In the next sector, the Doberdo Plateau, much the same condi- 
tion was prevalent. From the 1st of April, until the middle of 
May, 1916, there was always more or less artillery activity. 
Occasionally infantry engagements of varying importance and 
extent would occur. On April 7, 1916, the Italians were driven 
back from some advanced saps. South of Mrzlivrh, Austro- 
Hungarian troops conquered Italian positions, taking forty- 
three prisoners and one machine gun. 

Again on the 9th, hand-to-hand fighting, preceded by bomb 
throwing, was reported on the Mrzlivrh front. Another attack, 
launched early in the morning of April 13, 1916, by the Aus- 
trians, lasted throughout the day, with varying fortune, but 



ON THE AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONT 237 

finally resulted in a success for the Italians. On April 14, 1916, 
the Austro-Hungarians captured an Italian position at Mrzlivrh 
and repulsed several counterattacks. The Italians suffered heavy- 
losses. Artillery vigorously shelled the Italian positions at 
Flitsch and Hontebra. 

Other violent engagements took place on the Doberdo Plateau 
on April 27, May 9, 10, 12, and 13, without, however, having any 
influence on the general situation. 

In all the other sectors very much the same conditions pre- 
vailed. Artillery fire was maintained on both sides almost con- 
stantly. Infantry attacks were launched wherever and when- 
ever the slightest opportunity offered itself. Scarcely any of 
these, however, resulted in any noticeable advantage to either 
side, especially in view of the fact that whenever one side would 
register a slight gain, the other side immediately would respond 
by counterattack and frequently nullify all previous successes. 
Comparatively unimportant and restricted, though, as most of 
this fighting was, it was so only because it exerted practically no 
influence on the general situation. On the other hand, it was 
carried on with the greatest display of valor and persistence that 
can be imagined and, because of the very nature of the ground 
on which it occurred, it forms one of the most spectacular periods 
of the war on the Austro-Italian front. 

Of these many local operations there were only a few which 
developed to such an extent that they need to be mentioned spe- 
cifically. 

One of these was a series of engagements in the Ledro Valley, 
southwest of Riva and west of Lake Garda. There the Italians 
on April 11, 1916, by systematic oflTensive actions, pushed their 
occupation of the heights north of Rio Tonale, between Concei 
Valley and Lake Garda. Eflficaciously supported by their artil- 
lery, their infantry carried with the bayonet a strong line of in- 
trenchments and redoubts along the southern slopes of Monte 
Pari Cimadoro and the crags of Monte Sperone. On the follow- 
ing day, however, April 12, 1916, the Austro-Hungarians, by 
violent surprise attacks, succeeded in rushing a part of the 
trenches taken by the Italians at Monte Sperone. In the even- 



238 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

ingy after an intense preparation by artillery, Italian infantry 
counterattacked, reoccupying the lost positions, after a deadly 
hand-to-hand struggle and extending their occupation to the 
slopes of Monte Sperone. This was followed by a still further 
extension on April 16, 1916. 

Much of the fighting involved positions on mountain peaks 
of great height, creating difficulties for both the attacker and 
the defender, which at first glance appeared to be almost insur- 
mountable. Of this type of warfare in the high mountains, the 
special correspondent of the London "Times" gives the following 
vivid description : 

"The Italian dispositions are very complete, and it is at this 
point necessary to say a few words upon Alpini warfare, which 
the Italians have brought to such a pitch of perfection. They 
are not the only mountaineers in the world, nor the only people 
to possess warriors famous on the hillside, but they were the 
first people in Europe, except the Swiss, to organize mountain 
warfare scientifically, and in their Alpine groups they possess 
a force unrivaled for combat in the higher mountains. The 
Alpini are individualists who think and act for themselves and 
so can fight for themselves. They are the cream of the army. 

"Locally recruited, they know every track and cranny of the 
^ills, which have no terrors for them at any season, and their 
self-contained groups, which are practically the equivalent of di- 
visions, contain very tough fighters and have achieved remark- 
able results during the war. Their equipment, clothing, artillery, 
and transport are all well adapted to mountain warfare, and as 
the whole frontier has been accurately surveyed, and well studied 
from every point of view, the Italians are at a great advantage 
in the hills. 

"There is nothing new about these troops, whose turnout and 
tactics have been a subject of admiration for many years, but 
in this war much has changed, in the Alps as elsewhere, and the 
use of the heaviest artillery in the mountains is one of the most 
striking of these changes. One finds oneself under the fire of 
twelve-inch howitzers from the other side of mountains 10,000 
feet high, and it is no extraordinary experience to find Italian 



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IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII7 



ON THE AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONT 239 

^ heavy howitzers sheltering behind precipices rising sheer up 
several thousand feet, and fighting with Austrian guns ten miles 
distant, and beyond one, if not two, high ranges of hills. One 
imagines that the Austrians must have many twelve-inch how- 
itzers to spare, for there are, to give an example, a couple near 
Mauthen, beyond the crest of the Carnic Alps, and other heavy 
artillery in the same district hidden in caverns. In these cav- 
erns, which are extremely hard to locate, they are secure against 
shrapnel and cannot be seen by airmen. I fancy the Austrians 
use galleries with several gun positions, which are used in turn. 

"This style of fighting compels the Italians to follow suit, or 
at least it is supposed to do so, and then, as no road means no 
heavy guns, there comes in the Italian engineer, the roadmaker, 
and the mason, and in the art of roadmaking the Italian is 
supreme. 

"They are very wonderful, these mountain roads. They play 
with the Alps and make impossibilities possible. Thanks to 
them, and to the filovia, or air railway on chains, it is possible 
to proceed from point to point with great rapidity, and to keep 
garrisons and posts well supplied. The telephones run every- 
where, and observing stations on the highest peaks enable Italian 
howitzers to make sure of their aim. I am not quite sure 
whether the Italians do not trust too much to their telephones 
and will not regret the absence of good flag signalers. When 
large forces are operating, and many shells bursting, the tele- 
phone is often a broken reed. The motor lorries, with about 
a one and one-half ton of useful load, get about wherever there 
is a road, and the handy little steam tractors, which make light 
of dragging the heaviest guns up the steepest gradients, are 
valuable adjuncts to the defense. At the turns of bad zigzags, 
the Italians have a remarkable drill for men on the dragropes, 
and in fact all diflficulties have been overcome. 

"I recall some Italian batteries mounted at an elevation of 
about 9,000 feet, of which each gun weighed eleven tons, the 
carriage five tons, and the platform, which was divided into 
sections, thirty tons. These guns, the battery officers declared, 
were brought up from the plains by a new mountain road in 

P— War St 5 



240 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

seven hours, and placed in position on these platforms five hours 
later. It is all a question of roads, but the filovia can carry 400 
kilos, and any gun under that weight can get up to a peak by 
way of the air. 

"It is all very marvelous and very perfect, and the Italians are 
also adepts at trench building, and make them most artistically. 
The only objection I can see to the mountain road is that, when 
the enemy gets a hold of the territory which they serve, he has 
the benefit of them. This is true of Trentino operations now, 
and the enemy has many more roads at his disposal than the old 
maps show. Sometimes I wonder whether the Italians do not 
immerse themselves a little too much in these means of war 
and lose sight a little of the ends, but over nine-tenths of Italy's 
frontier the war is Alpine, and it must be allowed that Italian 
soldiers have brought the art of mountain fighting to a degree 
of perfection which it has never attained before. 

"The Italian Alpine group varies in strength and composition. 
It usually has the local Alpine battalions reenforced by the 
mountaineers of Piedmont, and completed, when necessary, by 
line infantry, who usually act in the lower valleys, leaving the 
high peaks to the mountaineers. Artillery is added according 
to needs — mountain, field, and heavy — while there are engineers 
in plenty, and the mule transport is very good. 

"The Alpini wear a good hobnailed boot for ordinary service, 
but for work on the ice the heel of the boot is taken off, and an 
iron clamp with ice nails substituted. For mountaineering feats 
they often use scarpe da gatto, or cat shoes, made of string soles 
with felt uppers, which are more lasting than the Pyrenean 
straw sandals. The Gavetta, or mess tin of the Alpini, is very 
practical. It is of the same shape as ours, but a little deeper, 
and has a reserve of spirit at the base and a spirit lamp, enabling 
the Alpini to make coffee or heat their wine. They use racquets 
or skis on the snow, and carry either the alpenstock or the ice ax, 

"I did not realize before coming here that trench warfare, and 
the close proximity of hostile trenches, had become as usual in 
the mountains as in the plains. The defenses are, of course, not 
continuous over such a long, and in parts, impassable line, but 



ON THE AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONT 



241 




242 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

tend to concentrate at the passes and other points of tactical 
importance. But here the adversaries draw together, and one 
often finds lines only separated by twenty yards. 

"The Alpini are usually as much deprived of the power of 
maneuvering as their comrades in the plains, and all that is left 
for them is to act by surprise. They have a system of attacking 
by infiltration forward, not so very dissimilar from Boer meth- 
ods, and they have a number of devices and surprises which 
repay study. 

"Their enemy is worthy of them, for the chamois hunters, the 
foresters, the cragsmen of the Austrian Alps are no mean antag- 
onists, as all of us know who have shot and climbed with them. 
Very fine men, they shoot quick and straight, and when an 
oflScer of Alpini tells us not to dally to admire the scenery, be- 
cause we are within view of an Austrian post within easy range, 
we recall old days and make no diflficulty about complying. 

"The Germans trained their Alpine corps here before it went 
to Serbia, and the Italians made many prisoners from it — Ba- 
varians, Westphalians, and East Prussians. So at least I am 
told by officers of Alpini who fought with it, and it is certainly 
proved beyond all doubt that German artillery has been, and 
is now, cooperating with the Austrians on the Italian front. 

"The Alpini hold their positions winter and summer on the 
highest peaks and have made a great name for themselves. They 
have lost heavily, and the avalanches have also taken a serious 
toll of them. One parts with them with regret, for they are 
indeed very fine fellows, and the war they wage is very hard. 

"One point more. Pasubio is not one of the highest peaks in 
Italian hands, but snow fell there in the end of May and will 
fall again at the end of August. The time allowed for big things 
in the Alps by big armies is strictly limited. Also we must re- 
member that there are winter defenses to be made in the snow, 
and summer defenses to be made in the earth and rock. The 
Austrians were clever in attacking the other day, just as the 
enow defenses had crumbled and the summer defenses had not 
been completed. The barbed-wire chevaux-de-frise are often 
covered by snow in a night and have to be renewed. When the 



ON THE AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONT 243 

snow thaws, all this jumble of obstacles reappears tangled to- 
gether. 

"Other ghastly sights also reappear, like the 600 Austrian 
corpses on Monte Nero — almost awe-inspiring of heights. 
They had fallen in the snow which had covered them. In the 
summer they reappeared one morning in strange attitudes, 
frozen hard and lifelike, and gave the Italian garrison their first 
fright." 

On April 11, 1916, in the Monte Adamello zone, while a heavy 
storm was raging, Italian detachments attacked the Austrian 
positions on the rocky crags of the Lobbia Alta and the Doss 
di Genova, jutting out from the glaciers at an altitude of 3,300 
meters, (10,918 feet). On the evening of April 12, 1916, they 
completely carried the positions, fortifying themselves in them 
and taking thirty-one prisoners, including one officer and one 
machine gun. 

The next day, April 13, 1916, saw some severe fighting in the 
Sugana Valley in the Dolomites, where Italian troops carried 
with the bayonet, a position at Santosvaldo, west of the Sargan- 
agna torrent, taking seventy-four prisoners, including five 
officers. 

Three days later, April 17, 1916, Italian Alpine troops in the 
Monte Adamello zone, occupied and strengthened the Monte Val 
di Fumo Pass, at an altitude of 3,402 meters (11,161 feet) . 

During the night of April 18, 1916, one of the most spectacular 
and important exploits of this period was executed. In the upper 
Cordevole zone Italian troops, after successful mining opera- 
tions, attacked Austrian positions on the Col di Lana and occu- 
pied the western ridge of Monte Ancora. The Austrian detach- 
ment occupying the trenches was mostly killed. The Italians 
took as prisoners 164 Kaiserjagers, including nine officers. 

This successful operation of the Italians was of exceptional 
importance. The Col di Lana is a mountain 4,815 feet high, 
which forms a natural barrier in the valley of Livinallengo and 
protects the road of the Dolomites from Falzarego to the Pordoi 
Pass and dominates the road to Caprile. The Italians had al- 
ready occupied Col di Lana, but could not drive the Austrians 



244 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

from its western peak, where an entire battalion of Alpine 
troops, Kaiser jagers, was strongly intrenched and protected 
by semipermanent fortifications with field and machine guns. 

It was impossible for the Italians to attack the enemy's posi- 
tions, within range of the Austrian artillery on Mount Siet 
which is nearly on the same level, so the entire western margin of 
Col di Lana was carefully and patiently mined, an undertaking 
which probably took months of hard work, and several tons of 
high explosives were distributed in such a way as to destroy the 
whole side of the mountain above which the enemy was in- 
trenched. 

The explosion that followed was terrific. The earth shook as 
if rocked by an earthquake, and the havoc wrought was so great 
that out of the 1,000 Austrians who held the position, only 164 
survived. 

Of course, the Austrians launched many counterattacks 
against this new strong position of the Italians. But the latter 
had fortified it so well that all attempts of their opponents to dis- 
lodge them failed. 

Considerable further fighting also occurred during the second 
half of April, 1916, and the first half of May, 1916, in the Ada- 
mello zone, adjoining the Camonica Valley, especially in the re- 
gion of the Tonale Pass. The same was true of the Tofana sector 
on the upper Boite. But though spectacular, the results were of 
comparatively small importance. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

THE AUSTRIAN MAY DRIVE IN THE 
TRENTINO 

ABOUT May 15, 1916, the Italians were at the gates of Ro- 
^^^vereto, less than twelve miles south of Trent and seriously 
threatening that city. East of Rovereto the Italian lines ran 
along the crest of Doss di Somme to the Monte Maggio beyond 
Val Terragnolo and then northward to Soglio d*Aspio. The Aus- 



AUSTRIAN DRIVE IN THE TRENTINO 245 

trian forts of Folgaria and Lavarone compelled the Italians to 
follow the frontier as far as Val Sugana, where they occupied 
good strategical positions on Austrian territory and held Ron- 
segno, on the railroad between Borgo and Trent. Further north 
the Italians held dominating positions in front of the Austrian 
forts at Fabonti and Monte Cola. 

During the preceding months the Austrian forces along the 
Italian front had gradually been increased, until they now num- 
bered about thirty-eight divisions. Of these, it was estimated 
that sixteen divisions, or over 300,000 men had been massed by 
May 15, 1916, between the Adige and Brenta Rivers. Artillery, 
too, in comparatively great quantity and of as heavy caliber as 
the country permitted, had been assembled. 

Suddenly on May 15, 1916, the Austrians along the Trentino 
front followed up an intense bombardment which had lasted 
throughout May 14, 1916, with an attack by large masses of in- 
fantry against the Italian positions between the Adige and the 
upper Astico. Although the Italians valiantly resisted the first 
onrush they had finally to give way, losing some 2,500 men and 
sixty-five officers. Austrian troops have occupied Italian posi- 
tions on Armentara Ridge, south of the Sugana Valley, on the 
Folgarone Plateau, north of Cagnolo Valley and south of Ro- 
vereto. On the Oberdo Plateau they entered trenches east of 
Monfalcone, capturing five officers and 150 soldiers belonging to 
five different Italian cavalry regiments. 

The following vivid picture of the vehemence of the Austrian 
attack is given in the ^*Comere della Sera" : 

"The Austrians have opened a breach in the wall of defense 
which we have won by heavy sacrifices beyond our frontier. They 
have beaten with a hurricane of fire upon our Alpine line at 
its most delicate point, striving with desperate fury to penetrate 
into Italian territory. This is the hardest moment of our war ; 
it is also one of the most bitter and violent assaults of the whole 
European war. 

'The battle rages furiously. The Austrian attack is being 
made with colossal forces in the narrow zone between the Adige 
and the Val Sugana. The enemy had assembled fourteen divisions 



246 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

of his best troops. An Austrian officer who was taken prisoner 
said : 

" *You are not far from the truth in reckoning that there 
are three hundred thousand men against you. These comprise 
the armies of Dankl, Koevess, and the Boroevic, and these ar- 
mies are served by unHmited artillery. More than two thou- 
sand pieces are raining on a twenty-five-mile front projectiles 
of all calibers.* " 

"On Sunday morning, May 14, 1916, three shadows approached 
the Italian trenches. As they advanced they were recognized 
as Austrian Slav deserters. They said : 

" *The attack has been ordered for to-morrow. The bombard- 
ment will last from dawn to 6 p. m., when the infantry will 
attack.' 

"The information was exact. A bombardment of incredible 
violence began. Aeroplanes regulated the fire of a 15-inch naval 
gun, which sent five projectiles on the town of Asiago. After 
the bombardment had ceased the first infantry attack came. 
The troops attacked en masse, and at the same time attacks were 
made from the Adige to the Val Sugana. Four onslaughts were 
made on Zugna Torta. Our machine guns cut down the blue 
masses of men ; the wire entanglements were heaped with dead. 
The bombardment had destroyed all the first-line trenches. The 
infantry then hurled itself against the advance posts of the 
Val Terragnolo. The Alpini, deafened by twelve hours of bom- 
bardment, defended every foot of the ground, fighting always in 
snow. Three terrible bayonet counterattacks lacerated the Aus- 
trian lines, but the assailants were innumerable, and no help 
could come, as the entire front was in action. The Alpini who 
remained, so few in number, threw themselves on the enemy 
again, permitting the retirement of the main body to the line 
running from Malga Milegna to Soglio d'Aspio. Even here 
there was one avalanche of fire. The enemy artillery had been 
pouring explosives on these positions for ten hours. The enemy 
infantry here attacking were annihilated and the enemy dead 
filled the valleys, but fresh troops swarmed up from all parts. 

"Night fell on the first day's slaughter." 



AUSTRIAN DRIVE IN THE TRENTINO 247 

The following day, May 16, 1916, the Austrians attacked again 
the Italian positions on the northern slopes of the Zugna Torta 
in the Lagarina Valley in five assaults. In the zone between the 
Val Terragnolo and the upper Astico a violent concentrated fire 
from the Austrian artillery of all calibers forced the Italians to 
abandon their advanced positions. In the Asiago sector per- 
sistent attacks were repulsed. In the Sugana Valley the Aus- 
trians vigorously attacked between the Val Maggio bridgehead 
and Monte Collo. The prisoners taken by the Austrians were 
increased to forty-one officers and 6,200 men, and the booty to 
seventeen machine guns and thirteen guns. Along the whole 
remaining front there was artillery fire. Sporadic infantry at- 
tacks were made in the San Pellegrino Valley, the upper But, at 
Monte Nero, Mrzli, the Tohnino zone, the northern slopes of 
Monte San Michele, the region east of Selz, and Monfalcone. 

Austrian aeroplanes shelled Castel Tesino, Capedaletto, Mon- 
tebelluna, and the stations at Camia and Gemona. Italian aero- 
planes shelled Dellach and Kotsschach in the Gail Valley. 

The shelling of Zugna Torta was renewed on May 17, 1916, 
when five attacks against the Italian positions were repulsed 
with heavy losses. 

Meanwhile artillery fire continued against the Italian posi- 
tions between Val Terragnolo and the upper Astico. After 
three days of intense and uninterrupted artillery fire the Italians 
abandoned their positions on Zugna Torta on May 18, 1916, but 
repulsed two attacks against their positions further south. The 
Italians also abandoned their line of resistance between Monte 
Soglio d'Aspio and retired upon other prepared positions. 

Zugna Torta, the ridge running down upon Rovereto, between 
Val Lagarina and Vallarsa, was a dangerously exposed salient. 
The western slopes were commanded by the fire of the Austrian 
artillery positions at Biaena, north of More, on the western side 
of Val Lagarina, and the rest of the position lay open to Ghello 
and Fenocchio, east of Rovereto. The Italians had never been 
able to push forward their lines on either side of this salient. 
Biaena blocked the way on the west, and the advance east of 
Vallarsa was held up by the formidable group of fortifications 



248 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

on the Folgaria Plateau. When the Austrians attacked Zugna 
Torta, under cover of a converging artillery fire, the position 
quickly became untenable. 

On the same day the Austrians, for the first time since the 
beginning of hostilities between Italy and Austria, crossed the 
Italian frontier in the Lago di Garda region and established them- 
selves on the Costabella, a ridge of the Monte Baldo, between 
the lake and the Lagarina Valley. At this point, where the Aus- 
trian offensive met with the greatest success, the Italians were 
driven back four miles from the positions on Austrian soil which 
they occupied at the opening of the attack and which they had 
held early in the war. 

The Austrian advance was well maintained on the following 
day. May 19, 1916, when the Italians were driven from their 
positions on the Col Santo, almost directly to the west of Monte 
Maggio captured the day before, between the Val di Terragnolo 
and the Vallarsa. 

By that time the number of Italians taken prisoners by the 
Austrians since May 15, 1916, had increased to 257 officers and 
13,000 men and the booty to 109 guns, including twelve how- 
itzers, and sixty-eight machine guns. 

An Austrian dispatch forwarded at that time from Trent tells 
of the violent fighting which was in progress in the zone of Monte 
Adamello and the Tonale Pass and gives a description of the 
capture by the Austrians of an unarmed mountain in this 
region. 

The preparatory bombardment was begun at three o'clock in 
the afternoon, the Italian guns making only a desultory reply. 
The bombardment was continued until after sunset, when the 
Austrian infantry began to move forward from the direction 
of Fort Strino, on the Noce River, northeast of the Tonale Pass, 
guided by searchlights and star shells. 

The seasoned Austrian troops encountered an extremely heavy 
machine-gun and rifle fire as they climbed the slope, using their 
bayonets to give them support on the slippery ground, but con- 
tinued the advance, and near the summit engaged the Italian 
defenders in a hand-to-hand combat, and after an hour of 



AUSTRIAN DRIVE IN THE TRENTINO 249 

bayonet fighting drove the Italians from their positions. Both 
sides engaging in the encounter lost heavily, according to the 
dispatch. 

According to Rome dispatches the Austrian troops were under 
the command of the Austrian heir-apparent, Archduke Charles 
Francis Joseph, as well as Field Marshal Count von Hoetben- 
dorff, chief of the Austrian General Staff. General Cadoma, the 
Italian commander in chief, was also said to have established 
his headquarters on the Trentino front to take personal command 
of the defense. 

The special correspondent of the London "Times" describes 
the fighting in the Trentino at this period as follows : 

"It is the fifth day of the Austrian offensive. *We have an 
action in progress,' says the colonel. The night is clear and 
mild. A moon, full red, is rising on the horizon. Headquarters 
are located in an ancient Austrian feudal castle, which crowns 
a hilltop. At our feet the valley spreads out, and the mountain- 
chains to the right and left seem to meet at an angle in the 
west. Here a blackened mountain mass dominates the valley. 
It is the Panarotta, the stronghold of the enemy. 

" The eye of the Austrians,' a young officer exclaims, as from 
the crest a beam of light breaks forth, flaring with great intensity 
on the Italian positions lower down. Immediately an Italian 
light endeavors to shine directly in the path of the Austrian light 
and blind its rays. Another Austrian light darts forth from 
across the valley. Promptly an Italian searchlight gives battle. 
Thus for more than an hour the opposing searchlights endeavor 
to intercept one another. To-night the Austrians are on the of- 
fensive. Their lights sweep the hillcrests, pursued by Italian 
rays. 

"The moon is now high in the heavens, the snow-clad peaks, the 
shadowy ravines, the villages within Italian lines, as well as 
those beyond the invisible ring of steel, are bathed in a silvery 
light. We are standing less than four miles from the advanced 
enemy positions. The stage is set, the battle is about to begin. 
Information brought in during the day tells of fresh units of the 
enemy, massed in second line. Deserters, surrendering to Italian 



250 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

patrols, report that an important action is impending. The 
general commanding bids us good night. 

"We make our way on foot through quiet country lanes. 
Through the trees, the glimmer of the searchlights* flashes comes 
and goes like giant fireflies. The clear notes of a nightingale 
ring out in the stillness of the :iight. Nestling in the valley lies 
a large town, which only a fortnight ago was filied with civilians, 
'redeemed Italians,' who had enjoyed eight months of prosperity 
and liberty under Italian rule. Now these have been evacuated 
and scattered in the four comers of Italy, and the deserted houses 
and empty streets add to the unreality of the scene. The whirr- 
ing of the field-telephone wires which hang low, hastily looped 
over the branches of olive and mulberry trees, alone indicates 
any activity of man. There are no troops in sight, save a patrol 
which stops us and examines our papers. It seems difficult to 
realize that a great battle is impending. No scene could be 
more peaceful. In the marshes, frogs are croaking in loud 
unison. The scent of new-mown hay is wafted across the 
valley. 

"The minutes hang heavily. A half hour passes. An hour 
seems interminable. This afternoon, beyond the mountains, in 
the next valley, not more than nine miles away as the crow flies, 
a bloody action was fought. Not a sound of the cannonade 
reached us; what had happend there we did not know, for 
the Austrians are attacking from a single base, and their battle 
line is not more than fifteen miles long, pivoting on a central 
position, whereas the Italian forces in this same sector are com- 
pelled, by the configuration of the mountains and the inter- 
secting valleys, to fight separate actions which can only be co- 
ordinated with utmost difficulty. 

"Shortly before one o'clock in the morning the Austrian bat- 
teries open fire. From the west, the north, the east, the hail 
of shell and shrapnel tears open the crest of the hill, the Monte 
Collo, against which the attack is directed. So intense an ar- 
tillery fire has not hitherto been witnessed on the Italian front; 
380's, SOS's, 240's, 149's, 105's rain upon the short line of Italian 
intrenchments. 



AUSTRIAN DRIVE IN THE TRENTINO 251, 

"For more than three hours the bombardment continues. The 
Italian guns apparently refrain from answering. But every bat- 
tery is in readiness, every Italian gun is trained on the spot 
where the enemy must pass. Every man is at his post, waiting, 
waiting. It is just before dawn. The air of this Alpine Valley is 
cold and raw. A bleak wind blows through the trees. The 
cannonade slackens. From our position we cannot see the enemy 
advancing, but the black, broad strip of newly-upturned soil or? 
the crest of the Monte Collo shows the effect of the bombard- 
ment. Split wide open like a yarning crater, the hilltop has 
been plowed up in every direction. Barbed wire, parapets, and 
trench lines have disappeared, buried under the tangled earth 
clumps. 

"A minute, perhaps five or ten! 'They are coming,' is whis- 
pered in the observation post. A thunder of Italian artillery 
greets the attacking forces. On they come. Instinctively one 
can discern a shadowy mass moving forward. Huddled together, 
they crouch low. Shells are falling and then cease, and the 'click,' 
'click,' of the machine gun's enfilading fire is heard. The enemy 
reaches the Italian advance trenches. The first streaks of light, 
gray and cold, show new attacking forces coming up over the 
hill. They penetrate deep into the plowed soil. They seem 
to hold the hill. Stumbling through the cratered terrain the Aus- 
trians advance toward the Italian positions. Then from out 
of the tawny earth an Italian battalion springs up. One can 
almost imagine that one hears their hoarse battle cry, 'Avanti, 
Savoia! Avanti!' as they fall upon their enemies. 

"We learn later that the losses have been heavy. The Italian 
possessions have been badly damaged and have been temporarily 
evacuated. Both sides have taken prisoners, and what was the 
battle ground is now a neutral zone. Some hours later I again 
look across to the Monte Collo. The hill crest is deserted. Below 
the summit fresh Italian troops are occupying new and stronger 
positions, while an endless stream of pack-mules is winding 
slowly up the mountainside." 

On May 20, 1916, the battles in southern Tyrol, on the Lava- 
rone Plateau, increased in violence as the result of Italian at- 



252 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

tacks. The Austrians reached the summit of the Armentara 
Ridge and on the Lavarone Plateau penetrated the first hostile 
position. 

The troops of Archduke Charles Francis Joseph also added to 
their successes. They captured the Cima dei Laghi and the 
Cima di Nesole. The Italians also were driven from the Borgola 
Pass toward the south and lost three more twenty-eight centi- 
meter howitzers and 3,000 men, 84 officers, 25 guns and 8 
machine guns. 

Austrian aeroplanes dropped bombs on Vicenza. 

Although the Italian line still held in the main, it could not 
deny Austrian advances at certain important points. Slowly 
the Austro-Hungarians pushed on everywhere toward the Italian 
frontier. On May 21, 1916, an attack of the Graz Corps on 
Lavarone Plateau was attended with complete success. The Ital- 
ians were driven from their entire position. Other Austrian 
troops captured Fima, Mandriolo and the height immediately 
west of the frontier from the summit as far as the Astico 
Valley. 

The troops of Archduke Charles Francis Joseph reached the 
Monte Tormino Ma jo line. 

Between the Astico and Brenta, in the Sugana Valley, the 
Austrian attacks likewise continued, supported by powerful ar- 
tillery, against advanced lines in the west valleys of Terra As- 
tico, Doss Maggio and Campelle. 

Since the beginning of the offensive 23,883 Italians, among 
whom are 482 officers, had now been captured and the number 
of cannon taken had been increased to 172. 

Between Lake Garda and the Adige large Austrian forces 
were massed on May 22, 1916, in the Riva zone. There was also 
considerable aerial activity on that day on Monte Baldo (the 
mountain ridge to the east of the lake). From the Adige to 
the Astico there were only reconnoiterings. Between the As- 
tico and the Brenta Rivers in the Sugana Valley, the Italians 
were again forced to fall back gradually on their main lines 
after repulsing heavy attacks throughout the day. The retreat, 
however, was orderly and spontaneous. 



AUSTRIAN DRIVE IN THE TRENTINO 253 

Besides accomplishing their advance in the Val Sugana, the 
Austrians continued the reduction of the forts protecting Ar- 
siero, well across the Italian frontier on the way toward Vicenza. 
Arsiero is the terminus of a railway leading down into the Vi- 
cenza plain and the city of Vicenza. Through the capture of the 
Spitz Tonezza and Monte Melignone the Austrians now held 
the entire line across the frontier as far as Fomi on the Astico. 
They also pushed their advance toward the ridge north of the 
Val dei Laghi, and toward Monte Tormino and Monte Cremone, 
all three outlying defenses of Arsiero. Meanwhile the right 
wing of the Austrian army, after storming Col Santo, had 
moved toward Monte Pasubio, and the left wing had stormed 
the Sasso Alto, commanding the Armentara Ridge, enabling 
the Austrians to advance into the Sugana Valley and to take 
Roncegno. 

In order to appreciate the difficulties connected with all of 
this fighting, it must be remembered that the fighting is going on 
in the mountains, on ground varying in altitude as much as 
5,000 feet per mile. The mountains were still partly covered 
with snow and the transportation of supplies, therefore, was 
exceedingly difficult. 

As the month of May drew to its end, the Austrian advance 
spread steadily. By May 23, 1916, the Austrians had occupied 
north of the Sugana Valley the ridge from Salubio to Borgo. 
On the frontier ridge south of the valley the Italians were driven 
from Pompeii Mountain. Further south the Italians success- 
fully defended the heights east of the Val d*Assa and the fortified 
district Asiago and Arsiero. The armored work of Campolono, 
however, fell into Austro-Hungarian hands. The Austro-Hun- 
garian troops approached more closely the Val d'Assa and Posina 
Valley. 

Orderly as the Italian retreat was, it was nevertheless a 
hasty one. For the official Italian report for May 23, 1916, ad- 
mits that artillery "that could not be removed" was destroyed. 

Both the violence and unexpectedness of the Austrian attacks 
are testified to by articles published at this time in Italian news- 
papers. A writer in the "Giomale d'ltalia" of Rome says that 



254 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"the Austrian offensive came as a^ surprise to the Italian com- 
mand and the taking of Monte Maggio and other important po-» 
sitions was possible, because the Italians were not looking for 
so heavy an attack." 

A correspondent of the ''Corriere della Sera" of Milan, writing 
of the extensive preparations made by the Austrians for the 
present offensive, says "that the Austrians massed 2,000 
guns, mostly of large caliber, on the twenty-four-mile front 
attacked." 

Though it was now scarcely more than a week since the be- 
ginning of the Austrian offensive, 24,400 Italians had been made 
prisoners, among them 524 officers, and 251 cannon ; 101 machine 
guns had been taken. 

The Italians, of course, appreciated fully the deeper meaning 
of this Austrian offensive. They understood that the Austrian 
objective was not simply to reduce the Italian pressure on Trent 
or to drive the Italians out of southern Tyrol, but to advance 
themselves into Italy. At the same time, Italy also knew that, 
though such an advance was not an impossibility, its successful 
accomplishment for any great distance or duration would be 
seriously handicapped by the fact that the preponderance of 
numbers was unquestionably on the Italian and not the Aus- 
trian side. This confidence found expression in an order of the 
day issued at this junction by King Victor Emmanuel in which 
he says : 

"Soldiers of land and sea: Responding with enthusiasm 
to the appeal of the country a year ago, you hastened to fight, 
in conjunction with our brave allies, our hereditary enemy and 
assure the realization of our national claims. 

"After having surmounted difficulties of every nature, you 
have fought in a hundred combats and won, for you have the 
ideal of Italy in your heart. But the country again asks of you 
new efforts and more sacrifices. 

"I do not doubt that you will know how to give new proofs of 
bravery and force of mind. The country, proud and grateful, 
sustains you in your arduous task by its fervent affections, its 
calm demeanor and its admirable confidence. 



AUSTRIAN DRIVE IN THE TRENTINO 255 

"I sincerely hope that fortune will accompany us in future 
battles, as you accompany my constant thoughts." 

Still further Austrian successes were reported on May 24, 
1916. In the Sugana Valley they occupied the Salubio Ridge 
and drove the Italians from Kempel Mountain. 

In the Lagarina Valley, after an intense night bombardment/ 
Austrian forces attacked twice toward Serravalle and Col di 
Buole, but were vigorously repulsed. Next morning the attack 
on Col di Buole was renewed with fresh troops, but again re- 
pulsed with heavy loss. Italian troops followed up this repulse 
and reoccupied the height of Darmeson, southeast of Col di Buole. 

Between the Val d'Assa and Posina the Austrians, after hav- 
ing kept Italian positions at Pasubio under violent bombardment, 
launched a night attack with strong columns of infantry, which 
were mowed down by Italian fire and thrown back in disorder. 
Between Posina and the Astico the Austrians unmasked their 
heavy artillery along the Monte Maggio-Toraro line, but Italian 
guns replied effectively. 

On May 25, 1916, the Austro-Hungarians occupied the Cima 
Cista, crossed the Maso rivulet and entered Strigno in the Val 
Sugana, four miles northeast of Borgo and a little less than 
that distance southeast of Salubio, with the Maso stream be- 
tween. They also captured the Corno di Campo Verde to the 
east of Grigno, on the Italian border and occupied Chiesa on 
the Vallarsa Plateau, southwest of Pasubio. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

THE RISE AND FAILURE OF THE 
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN DRIVE 

"DY May 26, 1916, the center of the Austro-Hungarian army 
■*-^ was sweeping down toward Arsiero, while another strong 
force further west was within ten miles of the Italian city of 
Schio. Both of these points are terminals of the railroad sys- 
tem of which Vicenza is the center. That day some of the ar- 

Q— War St 5 



256 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

mored works of Arsiero and some strongly fortified positions 
southwest of Bacarola were captured and Monte Mochicce was 
occupied. Another Austrian success was the capture of the en- 
tire mountain range from Como di Campo Verde to Montemeata 
(in the Val d*Assa). The Italians suffered sanguinary losses 
and also lost more than 2,500 prisoners, four guns, four machine 
guns, 300 bicycles and much other material. 

In the Monte Nero zone on the night of May 26, 1916, the 
Austro-Hungarians attacked Italian trenches near Vrsic and suc- 
ceeded in gaining a temporary foothold. When reenforcements 
arrived, after a violent counterattack, the Italians drove out the 
enemy, taking some prisoners and machine guns. 

The natural difficulties in the way of the Austro-Hungarian 
invaders were so manifold and severe that it appeared at times 
as if the offensive had come to a standstill. However, this was 
not the case. Slowly but surely it progressed and as it pro- 
gressed it even spread out. Thus on May 27, 1916, the Austrians 
not only captured a fortification at Coronolo, west of Arsiero, 
and also a barricade in the Assa Valley, southwest of Monte 
Interrotto, but also carried their offensive further toward the 
west until it included the northern end of Lake Garda. 

Again on May 28, 1916, the Italians had to give way. The 
Austrians crossed the Assa Valley near Roana, four and a half 
miles southwest of Asiago. They also repulsed Italian attacks 
near Canove, between Asiago and Schio, and occupied the south- 
em slopes and captured the fortifications on the Monte Ingrotto 
heights, north of Asiago, after having taken Monte Cebio, Monte 
Sieglarella and the Como di Campo Bianco. In the upper Posina 
Valley the Italians were driven out of their positions west and 
south of Webalen. 

With renewed vigor the Austrians attacked on May 29, 1916. 
As a result the armored work of Punta Gorda fell into their 
hands, and west of Arsiero they forced the crossing of the Posina 
Brook and occupied the heights on the southern bank in the face 
of determined Italian resistance. 

The next day. May 30, 1916, Austrian troops, northeast of 
Asiago, drove the Italians from GsMJn and stormed positions on 



THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN DRIVE 257 

the heights northward. Monte Baldo and Monte Fiara fell into 
their hands. West of Asiago the Austrian line south of the Assa 
Valley was advanced to the conquered Italian position of Punta 
Gorda. The troops which had crossed the day before the Posina 
took Monte Priafora. 

This brought the Austrians so near to Asiago that the Italians 
deemed it wise to evacuate this town, holding, however, the 
hills to the east. In spite of the gradual advance of the Austrian 
center, the Italian wings held and severely punished the at- 
tacking Austrians. This was made possible by the admirable 
Italian motor transports which enabled the Italian command 
to bring up great reenforcements and stop the gap made in the 
first line. The most serious loss which they suffered was that of 
the big guns the Italians were obliged to abandon on the Monte 
Maggio-Spitz Tonezza line. 

The Austrian offensive was now in its second week. So far it 
had yielded in prisoners 30,388 Italians, including 694 officers 
and 299 cannon. 

Reviewing the Austro-Hungarian offensive up to this point, 
the military critic of the Berlin "Tageblatt" says : 

"The Austro-Hungarian advance is in progress on a front of 
thirty-one miles .between the Adige and the Brenta. This is 
about the same distance as the front between Gorlice and Tar- 
now, in Galicia, over which the offensive against the Russians 
was conducted thirteen months ago. 

"The general direction of the advance is toward the Italian 
line running through Asiago, Arsiero, and Schio, which up to 
the present time had been protected by advanced positions. This 
line represents the third and last fortified defensive position, 
the strategic object of which is to prevent an invasion of the 
Venetian plain. 

"The Austro-Hungarian troops already have disposed of the 
loftiest heights, which presents a situation favorable to them. 
When the heavy artillery has been brought into place there will 
be visible evidence of this. 

"The total Italian casualties thus far are not less than 80,000 
inen. The loss of more than 200 cannon is exceedingly serious 



258 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

for the Italians, since they cannot be replaced during the 
war." 

In spite of the fact that on May 30, 1916, the Austrians had 
forced their way across the Posina torrent between Posina and 
Arsiero and succeeded in partly enveloping the latter, a force 
which attempted to take Sant' Ubaldo, immediately southeast of 
Arsiero, on May 31, 1916, was driven back by the Italians be- 
yond the Posina, thus relieving the strongest pressure on the 
town. A little further west another Austrian force attacked the 
Italian positions on Monte Spin, southeast of Posina. The Italian 
lines held on the mountain slopes and the Austrian advance here 
was checked. West of Posina an Austrian assault on Monte 
Fomi Alti was repulsed. On the Sette Comuni Plateau, where 
the Austrians were advancing against Asiago, they began opera- 
tions against the Italian positions on Monte Cengio and Campo 
Niulo. 

On June 1, 1916, however, the Austro-Hungarians in the Ar- 
siero region captured Monte Barro and gained a firm footing on 
the south bank of the Posina torrent. Repeated night attacks 
along the Posina front against the northern slopes of Monte 
Forni Alti and in the direction of Quaro, southwest of Arsiero, 
were repulsed. 

All day long an intense uninterrupted bombardment by Aus- 
trian batteries of all calbers was maintained against the Italian 
lines in the Col di Xomo-Rochette sector (southwest of Posina). 

On the left wing the Austrians, leaving massed heavy forces 
between Posina and Fusine (in the Posina Valley, east of 
T^osina), made numerous efforts to advance toward Monte 
Spin. 

On the right wing strong Austro-Hungarian columns in the 
afternoon launched a violent attack against Segheschiri. These 
were completely repulsed after a fierce engagement. 

In the uplands of the Sette Comuni there was an intense 
and obstinate struggle along the positions south of the Assa 
Valley as far as Asiago. Italian troops holding the Monte Cengio 
Plateau determinedly withstood powerful infantry attacks sup- 
ported by a most violent bombardment. 



THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN DRIVE 259 

On the front pajrallel with the Asiago-Guglio-Valle road near 
Campo Mullo the Italians gained ground by a violent counter- 
offensive in spite of the strong Austrian resistance. 

Intense artillery and infantry fighting along the Trentino 
front continued unabated on June 2, 1916, and according to the 
official Italian statement the Austrian offensive in some places 
was checked. The Austrian infantry on Zugna Torta was scat- 
tered by the fierce Italian infantry fire. 

Around Asiero and on the Asiago Plateau in Italy, the Italians 
repulsed Austrian infantry. The Belmonte position northeast of 
Monte Cengio, where the struggle was fiercest and which was 
repeatedly taken and lost, was finally definitely occupied by 
the Italians. 

Several Italian towns, including Vicenza and Verona, were at- 
tacked by Austrian aeroplanes, while Italian air squadrons in 
a raid on objects of military importance in the lower Astico Val- 
ley, dropped 100 bombs on various enemy camps and munition 
depots. 

The next day, June 3, 1916, the Austrian attack once more 
found fresh impetus. In spite of desperate Italian resistance on 
the ridge south of the Posina Valley and before Monte Cengio, 
on the Asiago front, south of Monte Cengio, considerable ground 
was won and the town of Cesuna was captured. Italian counter- 
attacks were repulsed. 

During this one day 5,600 prisoners, including seventy-eight 
officers, were taken and three cannon, eleven machine guns and 
126 horses were captured. 

In the region west of the Astico Valley fighting activity was 
generally less pronounced on June 4, 1916, than it had been 
during the preceding days. South of Posina Austrian troops 
took a strong point of support and repulsed several Italian coun- 
terattacks. 

East of the Astico Valley, Austrian groups situated on the 
heights east of Arsiero stormed Monte Panoccio (east of Monte 
Barco) and thereby gained command of the Canaglio Valley. 

Considerable fighting occurred on June 5, 1916, without, how- 
ever, resulting in any important changes. Austro-Hungarian 



260 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

attacks, preceded by intensive artillery fire, were launched all 
along the Trentino front, but were met everywhere with deter- 
mined Italian resistance. Italian aeroplanes attacked the rail- 
way stations of San Bona di Piava, Livenca and Lati Sana, while 
Austrian airmen bombed the stations of Verona, Ala and Vi- 
cenza. 

Since June 1, 1916, 9,700 Italians, including 184 officers, had 
been captured, as well as thirteen machine guns and five cannons. 

On June 6, 1916, activities were restricted to artillery duels, 
although the Austrians southwest of Asiago continued the at- 
tack near Cesuna and captured Monte del Busiballo, southwest 
of Cesuna. 

More and more it became evident now that the force of the 
Austrian offensive had been spent. The pressure on the Italian 
center in the Trentino front gradually diminished as a result 
of the determined Italian resistance, which had made impossible 
an equal progress of the Austrian wings. Possibly, too, the 
great Russian offensive on the southeastern front made itself 
felt even now. At any rate, there was a decided slowing down 
of infantry attacks. At one point, however, on the Sette Com- 
uni Plateau, the battle raged along the whole front. On the 
evening of June 6, 1916, after an intense artillery preparation, 
the Austro-Hungarians made repeated attacks against Italian 
positions south and southwest of Asiago. The action, raging 
fiercely throughout the night of June 6-7, ended in the morning 
of June 7th with the defeat of the Austrian columns. During the 
afternoon the Austrians renewed their violent efforts against the 
center and right wing of the Italian positions. Preceded by 
the usual intense bombardment, dense infantry masses repeat- 
edly launched assaults against positions south of Asiago, east 
of the Campo Mulo Valley, but were always repulsed with heavy 
losses. 

Concerning the Austro-Hungarian troops who had carried this 
offensive into Italy, the special correspondent of the London 
''Times*' says: 

'Trench warfare, for the time being, has been abandoned 
here. Trench lines no longer count. 



THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN DRIVE 261 

"Great troop masses are maneuvering in the open, through 
the valleys and gorges, swarming over the summits of these 
mountains. The Austrians dare advance only as far as the long 
arm of their guns will reach, and are bending all their energy 
to bring up these guns. It is a gigantic task, and the skill of the 
enemy commander in holding together and coordinating his at- 
tacks, now that his troops have entered these defiles, must be 
acknowledged. 

"It is sledge-hammer tactics, so dear to the Prussians, that the 
Austrian commanders have adopted, and from the general as- 
pect of their plans, it would appear that these were prepared 
and matured in Berlin rather than in Vienna. 

"How long can it last? How long before the Austrian effort 
will have spent itself?" are the questions that are being asked 
here as the second week of this great battle is drawing to a close. 
For, unlike Verdun, it is not a fortress that is being assaulted, 
but a great drive, carried on by siege methods. Not converging 
on a single center, but radiating, like sticks of a fan, from a cen- 
tral base. 

"So much has been written regarding the exhaustion of the 
resources of the Dual Monarchy, not only of materials, but of 
men. In how far is this true? 

"To deal first with the question of ordnance. The Austrians, 
it is estimated by competent experts, have well over 2,000 pieces 
of artillery in action along this battle line. These include a great 
number of heavy-caliber guns. Naval guns, with an extreme 
length of range, are being used with great skill throughout the 
engagement. Kept in reserve, and silent, though posted close up 
to the firing line, they have had a disconcerting eifect, in that 
their fire has reached far behind the Italian lines at intervals 
between the attacks, firing shots at random which did little ac- 
tual damage, but gave the impression of continued advance. With 
the front of this battle line extending now to a length of twenty- 
two miles, the artillery of the enemy works out at nearly 100 
pieces to the mile, or one gun every twenty yards. 

'The shells fired by this artillery are of excellent workman- 
ship. I have on my table as I write a fragment of a 10-inch shell 



262 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

which I picked up here. It is rent in deep fissures, which would 
prove, according to competent authority, that the explosive ma- 
terials used are good. *The Austrians fired away all their bad 
shells during preliminary actions,' was the comment of a young 
staff officer who is in the habit of recording the efficiency of 
enemy shells. But it is quantity as well as quality which the 
enemy is relying upon. 

" 'Twenty thousand shells were fired against my position the 
first two days of the engagement,* an Alpini major, commanding 
a small knoll, remarked to me. Using this as a basis, it would 
not be far from the truth to assert that over 1,000,000 shells 
have been fired by the enemy in the present battle, and there is 
as yet no slackening of effort. 

"And the troops? This morning a group of some 250 Aus- 
trians, taken during the action last night, are in this village. 
They are divided in squads of twenty-five, each in charge of an 
Austrian noncommissioned officer. The men had had six hours' 
rest before I saw them. These prisoners are Rumanians from 
Transylvania. They are young, well~set-up troops. They are nat- 
urally glad to be prisoners, though their captors tell me that they 
fought valiantly. The equipment of these men is new, and I 
was struck by the excellent quality of their boots; high, new 
leather, thick mountain boots. In fact, all their leather accouter- 
ments are new, and of good leather. Their uniforms are in many 
cases of heavy cotton twill, very tough, and resisting the hard 
mountain fighting better than the usual cloth uniform. Nearly 
every man has an overcoat, which is of stout new cloth. Only 
five or six of the men are without caps. None have helmets of 
any kind, but all wear the soft cap with ear flaps tied back. 
According to answers given to the interpreter, they are of the 
class of 1915, and have seen fighting in Galicia. 

"Asked about their food, they replied that they did not get 
enough to eat, but their looks belied their statements. Whatever 
may be the truth in regard to the meatless and fatless days in 
the Hapsburg Empire, the armies in the field are not suffering 
in this respect, and, though the civilians at home are now put on 
strict rations, their soldiers' rations, in this sector at least, have 



THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN DRIVE 



263 




264 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

not been cut down. I was shown small tins of meat, taken from 
the knapsack of a prisoner, and several carried 3-ounce tins of 
a good quality of butter. In another sector I saw Bosnian pris- 
oners wearing a gray fez, and looking much like Turkish troops. 
They also impressed me as very fit men ; in fact, all the prisoners 
taken recently would seem to be of strong fiber, and far better 
equipped than Austrian troops which I have seen elsewhere. 

"It is evident that the Austrian commanders have assembled 
the picked troops of the Dual Monarchy for the storming of 
these Trentino heights. Everything would point to the fact that 
they are making a supreme and final effort to win the war. Pris- 
oners confirm this by stating that the war cannot go on much 
longer. 

"Are the last good reserves being used up in this battle? Yes- 
terday morning an Italian patrol coming in from the night's 
tour of inspection of their positions bring in a prisoner. He is 
a burly, thick-lipped peasant boy of twenty, dressed in a Russian 
uniform. On his loose-fitting blouselike tunic, torn in many 
places, is pinned a black and yellow ribbon, and hanging from a 
thin remaining strand shines the silver medal of St. George. An 
Italian subaltern takes charge of the prisoner. 

" *A Russian refugee,' the officer remarks, in answer to my 
look of surprise at the sight of a Russian prisoner being brought 
in by an Italian patrol on the Trentino front. The Russian smiles 
good-naturedly, as he feels secure, now that he is among friends. 
In due time he will be repatriated, or perhaps join the Russian 
corps in France. We leave him busy over a big bowl of macaroni. 

" 'There are close to 20,000 Russian prisoners of war employed 
by the Austrians along our front, repairing roads, making 
trenches, and engaged on other 'noncombatant military duties,' 
the officer informed me. 'A few manage to escape into our lines 
nearly every day, but many more Russian dead lie in the silent 
crevasses of our high mountains who have lost their lives while 
attempting to escape. 

" 'You see, they need the men,' he concluded, as we watched 
an endless stream of fresh Italian troops winding their way up 
from the valley." 



THE ITALIAN COUNTEROFFENSIVE 265 



CHAPTER XXXV 

THE ITALIAN COUNTEROFFENSIVE 
IN THETRENTINO 

HARDLY had the Austro-Hungarian offensive shown signs 
of weakening when the Italians themselves began to attack 
the invaders. The first indication of this change was gleaned 
from the wording of the official statements, covering military- 
operations on the Italian front for June 9, 1916. No longer is 
there any mention of Austro-Hungarian advances, but on the 
contrary this term appears now in the reports concerning the 
military operations of the Italian troops, who are also reported 
as "making attacks." Of course, this turn in affairs developed 
slowly in the beginning. 

Thus, although on June 9, 1916, the Italian troops attacked at 
many points along the entire front between the Adige and Brenta 
Rivers, most of these attacks were repulsed by the Austro-Hun- 
garians, who were still able to claim the capture of some 1,600 
prisoners. At the same time Italian forces began to push back 
the invaders at some points and were able to advance in the 
upper Arsa Valley in the Monte Novegno region, between the 
Posina and Val d'Astico, as well as on the western slopes of 
Monte Cengio. Artillery duels were maintained along the entire 
balance of the front to the sea. Austrian aeroplanes dropped 
bombs on various localities in the Venetian plain, while an 
Italian squadron shelled Austro-Hungarian positions in the Arsa 
Valley and the Val d'Astico. 

Much the same was the result of the fighting on June 10 and 
11, 1916. On the former day the Austro-Hungarians concen- 
trated their efforts still more and restricted themselves to an at- 
tack against a small portion of the Italian front southeast of 
Asiago. After an intense bombardment strong forces numbering 
about one division repeatedly attacked the Monte Lemerle posi- 
tions. They were repulsed with very heavy losses by counter- 
attacks. 



266 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

From the Adige to the Brenta the Italian offensive action was 
increasing. Infantry, effectively supported by artillery, made 
fresh progress along the Vallarsa height, south of the Posina, in 
the Astico Valley, at the Frenzela Valley bridgehead, on the 
Asiago Plateau, and to the left of the Maso torrent. 

During the following day Austro-Hungarian artillery intensely 
bombarded the Italian positions near Conizugna in the Lagarina 
Valley. In the Arsa Valley, in the Pasubio sector, on the Posina, 
and on the Astico line Italian infantry advance continued de- 
spite violent artillery fire and a snowstorm. 

Two Austrian counterattacks toward Fomi Alti and Campig- 
liazione were repulsed with very heavy losses. In the plateau of 
the Sette Comuni, southwest of Asiago, Italian advanced de- 
tachments, after passing the Canaglia Valley, progressed toward 
the southeastern slopes of Monte Cengio, Monte Barco, and Monte 
Busibello. In the Sugana Valley detachments progressed toward 
the Masso torrent, repulsing two Austrian counterattacks near 
Sucrelle. Along the remainder of the front there were artillery 
duels and bomb-throwing activity by small detachments. Aus- 
trian aeroplanes dropped bombs on Vicenza, hitting the military 
hospital, and also attacked Thiene, Venice, and Mestre, causing 
slight damage. 

Still further ground was gained by the Italian forces on June 
12, 1916, in spite of the most obstinate resistance. 

In the Lagarina Valley, by a strong attack after artillery 
preparation, the Italians carried the strongly fortified line from 
Parmesan, east of the Cima Mezzana, to Rio Romini. The Aus- 
tro-Hungarians immediately launched violent counterattacks, 
but were always repulsed. 

Along the Posina-Astico front there was an intense bom- 
bardment by both sides. Austrian infantry, which succeeded in 
penetrating Molisini, was driven out by gunfire, pursued and 
dispersed. 

In the Sugana Valley on the night of June 12, 1916, and 
the fallowing morning, Austrian detachments attempting to 
advance east of the Maso torrent were repulsed with very heavy 
losses. 



THE ITALIAN COUNTEROFFENSIVE 267 

Once more the Austro-Hungarians attempted to wrest the 
initiative from their opponents, without, however, succeeding to 
any extent. On the Posina front on the evening of June 12, 1916, 
after violent artillery preparation, they attacked Monte Fomi 
Alti, the Campiglia (both southwest of Posina) , Monte Ciove and 
Monte Brazonne (both south of Arsiero), but were everywhere 
repulsed with heavy losses. 

During the day they bombarded with numerous batteries of 
all calibers the Italian positions along the whole front from the 
Adige to the Brenta, especially in the Monte Novegno zone. The 
Italian troops firmly withstood the violent fire and repelled in- 
fantry detachments which attempted to advance. 

Austro-Hungarian hydroaeroplanes attacked the station and 
military establishments at San Giorgio di Nogaro, as well as the 
inner harbor at Grado. 

More and more it became evident that the Austro-Hungarian 
drive in the Trentino region had definitely been stopped or aban- 
doned. From time to time, it is true, the Austrians returned to 
the offensive. But this was always of local importance only and 
restricted in strength and extent. The Italians, on the other 
hand, not only maintained their new offensive movement, but 
even extended gradually its sphere. 

Two attempted attacks by the Austro-Hungarian forces in the 
region of Monte Novegno, made in the direction of Monte Ciove 
and Monte Brazonne, were repulsed. But on Monte Lemerle, 
against which the Austrians had launched without success a 
very violent attack only a few days before, they now surprised 
a hostile detachment near the summit and captured the mountain 
completely, taking 500 prisoners. 

Italian activity was renewed again on the Isonzo front. After 
intense artillery preparation a Naples brigade, supported by 
dismounted cavalry detachments, in a surprise attack, pene^ 
trated Austrian lines east of Monfalcone. The trenches re- 
mained in Italian possession after a severe struggle, duringf 
which 10 officers, 488 men, and 7 machine guns were captured. 

Italian squadrons of aeroplanes bombarded the railway station 
at Mattarello, in the Lagarina Valley, and encampments at the 



268 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

junction of the Nos and Campomulo Valleys on the Asiago 
Plateau, while Austrian aeroplanes dropped bombs on Padova, 
Giorgio di Nogaro, and Porto Rosega. 

The Italian advance was steadily maintained from now on, 
not without, however, finding everywhere the stiffest kind of 
resistance, which at times made it even possible for the Austro- 
Hungarians to gain slight local successes. These, however, were 
not extensive or frequent enough to change the general picture 
of military operations on the Austro-Italian front. The Aus- 
trians, though still on Italian territory in a number of localities, 
were on the defensive with the Italians, though making only very 
slow and painful progress, unquestionably on the offensive. 

On June 16, 1916, the Italians advanced northeast of Asiago, 
between the Frenzela Valley and Marcesina. Notwithstanding 
the difficult and intricate nature of the terrain and the stubborn 
resistance of the Austrians, intrenched and supported by numer- 
ous batteries, the Italian troops made progress at the head of 
the Frenzela Valley, on the heights of Monte Fior and Monte 
Castel Gomberto and west of Marcesina. The best results were 
attained on the right wing, where Alpine troops carried the 
positions of Malga Fossetta and Monte Magari, inflicting heavy 
losses on the Austrians and taking 203 prisoners, a battery of 
6 guns, 4 machine guns, and much material. 

During the next few days the most fierce fighting occurred on 
the plateau of Sette Comuni. All Austrian attempts to resume 
the offensive and continue their advance failed. The Italian ad- 
vance was scarcely more successful; fighting had to be done 
in the most difficult territory; strong Austrian resistance devel- 
oped everywhere. Thunderstorms frequently added to the diffi- 
culties already existent. Yet slowly the Italian forces pushed 
back the invader. 

On June 18, 1916, Alpine troops carried with the bayonet 
Cima di Sidoro, north of the Frenzela Valley. Fighting devel- 
oped in the Boite sector, where the Italians had made some slight 
gains during the previous days, which the Austrians tried to dis- 
pute. Heavy Italian artillery bombarded the railway station at 
Toblach and the Landro road in the Rienz Valley. Artillery 



THE ITALIAN COUNTEROFFENSIVE 269 

and aeroplane activity was extremely lively during this period; 
Not a day passed without artillery duels at many scattered points 
along the entire front from the Swiss border down to the Adri- 
atic. Aeroplane squadrons of considerable force paid continu- 
ously visits to the opposing lines, dropping bombs on lines of 
communication and railway stations. 

Alpine troops captured a strong position for the Italians on 
June 20, 1916, at the head of the Posina Valley, southwest of 
Monte Purche. On the 22d the Italians pushed their advance 
beyond Romini in the Arsa Valley, east of the Mezzana Peak, and 
on the Lora Spur, west of Monte Pasubio. 

On the same day the Austrians counterattacked with extreme 
violence at Malga Fossetta and Castel Gomberto, but were re- 
pulsed with heavy losses. On the 21st a further Austrian at- 
tack at Cucco di Mandrielle resulted in a rout. On the 22d the 
Italians, while holding all the Austrian first-line approaches 
under heavy fire to prevent the bringing up of reserves, attacked 
on the entire front, but still encountered a strong resistance. 
During the night of the 24th the remaining peak of Malga Fos- 
setta, held by the Austrians, Fontana Mosciar, and the extremely 
important Mandrielle were taken by storm, while the Alpini 
on the right made themselves masters of the Cima Zucadini by 
the 22d. 

Henceforth retreat was inevitable, and during the night of 
the 25th the Italians on Monte Fior, seeing that the Austrian 
resistance had greatly diminished, pushed their offensive vigor- 
ously. Shortly after the advance was begun along the whole 
right. Monte Cengio, which had received an infernal bombard- 
ment for three days and nights, fell at last, and the advance 
proceeded apace. 

On June 26, 1916, Italian troops in the Arsa Valley carried 
strong trenches at Mattassone and Naghebeni, completing the 
occupation of Monte Lemerle. Along the Posina front, after 
driving out the last Austrian detachments from the southern 
slopes of the mountain, the Italians crossed the torrent and 
occupied Posina and Arsiero, advancing toward the northern 
slopes of the valley. 



270 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

On the Sette Comuni Plateau Italian infantry, preceded by 
cavalry patrols, reached a line running through Punta Corbin, 
Fresche, Concafondi, Cesuna, southwest of Asiago, and passing 
northeast of the Nosi Valley, and occupied Monte Fiara, Monte 
Lavarle, Spitzkaserle and Cimasaette. 

On the right wing Alpine troops, after a fierce combat, carried 
Grolla Caldiera Peak and Campanella Peak. 

The inside workings of the Italian armies engaged in this 
offensive movement are interestingly pictured in the following 
account from the pen of the special correspondent of the London 
"Times," who, of course, had special opportunities for observa- 
tion: 

"Thanks to the courtesy of the Italian Government and higher 
command, I have been allowed to go everywhere, to see a great 
deal on the chief sectors of a 400-mile Alpine border, and to 
study the administrative services on the lines of communication. 

"I have visited the wild hills of the upper Isonzo, have in- 
spected the strange Carso region on the left bank of the river, 
and have continued my investigations on the Isonzo front as 
far as Aquileia and the sea. I have threaded beautiful and rug- 
ged Carnia nearly as far west as Monte Croce, have ascended the 
valley of the But to Mount Timau, where the Austrians, as else- 
where, are in close touch, and, passing on to wonderful Cadore, 
have visited the haunts of the Alpini above the sources of 
the Tagliamento and Piave. 

"Coming then to the Trentino sector, I have traversed the 
Sugana Valley as far as was practicable, accompanied the army 
in its reconquest of Asiago Plateau, and concluded an instructive 
•^our by ascending the mountains which dominate Val Lagarina 
to the point of contact between the contending armies. 

"The rest of the front, from the Lago di Garda to the Stelvio 
and the frontier of Switzerland, is not at present the scene of 
important operations, so I contented myself by ascertaining at 
second hand how matters stand between the Valtellina and the 
Chiese. 

"I have had the honor of a private audience with his Majesty 
the King of Italy, and have seen and talked to nearly all the lead- 



THE ITALIAN COUNTEROFFENSIVE 271 

ing soldiers. Nothing could exceed the kindness with which I 
have been received, and my grateful thanks are due especially 
to Colonels Count Barbarich and Claricetti, who were placed at 
my disposal by General Cadorna and accompanied me during my 
tour. 

"It is necessary for those who wish to have a clear under- 
standing of Italy's share in the war to look back and realize the 
situation of our Italian friends when, at the most critical moment 
for the cause, they threw the weight of their sword into the 
scales. 

"Italy, like England, had lost the habit of considering policy 
in military terms. Home politics ruled all decisions. The army 
had been much neglected, and the campaign in Libya had left 
the war material at a very low ebb. United Italy had not yet 
fought a great modern campaign, and neither the army nor the 
navy possessed in the same measure as other powers those great 
traditions which are the outcome of many recent hard-fought 
wars. Italy was without our coal and our great metallurgic 
industries. She did not possess the accumulation of resources 
which we were able to turn to warlike uses ; nor could she find 
in her over-sea possessions, as we did, the strength and vitality 
of self-governing younger people of her own race. The old 
Sardinian army had given in the past fine proofs of valor, but it 
was not known how the southern Italians would fight, and it 
was at first uncertain whether the whole country would throw 
itself heart and soul into the war. 

"These impediments to rapid decisions and the extreme diffi- 
culty of breaking with an old alliance explain the apparent 
hesitation of Italy to enter the war. 

"On the other hand, there were compensations. The heart of 
Italy was always with the Allies, and the hatred of Austria was 
very deep. There was every hope that the long-prevailing sys- 
tem of amalgamating the various races of Italy in the common 
army would at last bear fruit, and that this amalgamation, com- 
bined with the moral and material progress of Italy in recent 
years, and the pride of the country in its past history, would 
enable Italy to play an honorable and notable part in the war 

R_War St. 5 



272 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 




GORIZIA 



THE ITALIAN COUNTEROFFENSIVE 273 

by land and sea, and to wrest from her hereditary enemy those 
portions of unredeemed Italy which still remained in Austrian 
hands. 

"These hopes have either been fulfilled or are in course of ful- 
fillment. United Italy is unitedly in the war, and, except among 
a few political busybodies, who intrigue after the manner of their 
kind, there are not two opinions about the war. There are many 
cases of mothers compelling their sons to volunteer and other 
cases of fathers insisting upon being taken because their sons are 
at the front. The prefect of Friuli told me that nearly all the 
24,000 men in his province who were absent abroad when the 
war broke out returned home to fight before they were recalled. 
The south and the island areas warm for war as the north, and 
the regiments of Naples and of Sicily have done very well indeed 
in the field. Some people think that Piedmont is not quite so 
enthusiastic as other parts of Italy, because she flags her streets 
rather less, but I do not think that there is any real difference 
of feeling. In all the capitals of the Allies the political climate 
has been a trifle unhealthy, and of Rome it has been said that 
the old families of the Blacks have not taken a leading part in the 
campaign. My inquiries make me doubt the accuracy of this 
statement, and I think on the whole it will be found that, despite 
the old and persistent divergence of opinion on certain topics, all 
ranks and all classes are heartily for the war, and that an 
enemy who counts on assistance from within Italy will be griev- 
ously disappointed. 

"Italy is fortunate in having at her head, at this critical hour 
of her destinies, a king who is a soldier born and bred. 

"It is a common saying here that the King of Italy is homesick 
when he is absent from the army, and it is certain that his 
majesty spends every hour that he can spare from state affairs 
vdth his troops. He wears on his breast the medal ribbon, only 
given to those who have been at the front for a year, and, though 
he deprecates any allusion to the fact, it is true that he is con- 
stantly in the firing line, has had many narrow escapes, and is 
personally known to the whole army, who love to see him in their 
tnidst. 



274 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"I have not found any officer of his army who has a better, a 
more intimate, or a more accurate knowledge of his troops than 
the king. His attention to the wants of the army is abso- 
lutely untiring, and I fancy that his cool judgment and large 
experience must often be of great service to his ministers and his 
generals. 

"I do not know whether the field headquarters of the King of 
Italy or of King Albert of Belgium is the most unpretentious, but 
certainly both monarchs live in circumstances of extreme sim- 
plicity. My recollection is that when I last had the honor of 
visiting King Albert's headquarters, the bell in what I must 
call the parlor did not ring, and the queen of the Belgians had 
to get up and fetch the tea herself. 

'When I had the honor of being received by the King of Italy 
I found his majesty in a little villa which only held four people, 
and the king was working in a room of which the only furniture 
which I can recall consisted of a camp bed close to the ground 
and of exiguous breadth, a small table,- and two chairs of un- 
compromising hardness. The only ornament in the room was 
the base of the last Austrian shell which had burst just above 
the king's head and has been mounted as a souvenir by the queen. 

"When a prince of the House of Savoy lives in the traditions 
of his family, and shares all the hardships of his troops, it needs 
must that his people follow him. And so they do. 

"The hardy Alpini from the frontiers, the stout soldiers of 
Piedmont, the well-to-do peasantry of Venetia, the Sardinians, 
who are ever to the front when there is fighting to be enjoyed, 
the Tuscans, Calabrians, and those Sicilians once so famous 
amongst the legionaries, are all here or at the depots training 
for war. Mobilization must have affected two and a half million 
Italians at least. There have been fairly heavy losses, and 
fighting of one kind or another is going on in every sector that 
I have visited, and every day, despite the great hardships of 
fighting on the Alpine frontier, the moral of the army remains 
good, the men are in splendid health, and Italy as a whole 
remains gay and confident, less affected on the whole by the 
war than any other member of the grand alliance. 



THE ITALIAN COUNTEROFFENSIVE 275 

"There are certainly more able-bodied men of military age out 
of uniform in Italy than there are in France, or than there are 
now with us. Except volunteers, no men under twenty are at 
the front. There are large reserves still available upon which 
to draw. The army has been more than doubled since the war 
began. 

"The Italian regular officers, and the officers of reserve, are 
quite excellent. The spirit of good comradeship which prevails 
in the army is most admirable, and the corps of officers reminds 
me of a large family which is proverbially a happy one. Those 
foreign observers who have seen much of the Italian officers 
under fire tell me that they have always led their men with 
superb valor and determination, while, though Italy has not 
such a professional body of N. C. O.'s as Germany, I believe 
that most of these men are capable of leading when their officers 
fall. 

"But there are not enough of good professional officers and 
N. C. 0.*s to admit for the moment of a considerable further 
expansion of the army. Existing formations can be, and are 
being, well maintained, and this is what matters most for the 
moment. 

"The peasant in certain parts of Italy rarely eats meat. In 
the army he gets 300 to 350 grams a day, according to the 
season, not to speak of a kilogram of good bread and plenty 
of vegetables, besides wine and tobacco. He is having the time 
of his life, and if, as cynics say, peace will break up many happy 
homes in England, peace in Italy will certainly make some 
peasants less joyful than before." 



276 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

CHAPTER XXXVI 

CONTINUATION OF THE ITALIAN 
COUNTEROFFENSIVE 

BETWEEN the Adige and the Brenta the retreating Austro- 
Hungarian forces had now reached strongly fortified and 
commanding positions which considerably increased their power 
of resistance. The Italians, however, continued, even if at re- 
duced speed, to make progress. On June 27, 1916, they shelled 
Austrian positions on Monte Trappola and Monte Testo and 
took trenches near Malga Zugna. Between the Posina and the 
Astico they took Austrian positions on Monte Gamonda, north 
of Fusine, and Monte Caviojo. Cavalry detachments reached 
Pedescala (in the Astico Valley, about three miles north of 
Arsiero) . 

On the Asiago Plateau other Italian forces occupied the south- 
ern side of the Assa Valley and reached the slopes of Monte 
Rasta, Monte Interrotto and Monte Mosciagh, which were held 
strongly by the Austrian rear guards. Further north, after 
carrying Monte Colombara, Italian troops began to approach 
Calamara Valley. 

•On June 28, 1916, the Vallarsa Alpine troops stormed the fort 
of Mattassone, and detachments of infantry carried the ridge 
of Monte Trappola. On the Pasubio sector Italian troops took 
some trenches near Malga Comagnon. Along the Posina line 
their advance was delayed by the fire of heavy batteries from 
the Borcola. 

In the Astico Valley they occupied Pedescala. On the Sette 
Comuni Plateau the Austrians strengthened the northern side 
of the Assa Valley Heights on the left bank of the Galmarara 
to the Agnella Pass. The Italians established themselves on the 
southern side of the Assa Valley and gained possession of 
trenches near Zebio and Zingarella. 

The following day, June 29, 1916, the Itahan line in the region 
between the Val Lagarina and the Val Sugana was pushed for- 



I 



CONTINUATION OF COUNTEROFFENSIVE 277 

ward still further until it reached the main Austrian line of 
resistance. The Italians occupied the Valmorbia line, in the 
Valkrsa, the southern slopes of Monte Spil, and began an of- 
fensive to the northwest of Pasubio, in the Cosmagnon region. 

Farther east on the line of the Posina Valley, the Italians 
took Monte Maggio, the town of Griso, northwest of Monte 
Maggio; positions in the Zara Valley and Monte Scatolari and 
Sogliblanchi. Monte Civaron and the Zellonkofel, in the Su- 
gana Valley, fell into the hands of the Italians. 

The Italians continued their advance along the Posina front 
on June 30, 1916, despite the violent fire of numerous Austro- 
Hungarian batteries dominating Borcola Pass, and also Monte 
Maggio and Monte Toraro. Italian infantry occupied Zarolli 
in the Vallarsa, north of Mattassone. On the left wing, over- 
coming stubborn resistance, Italian troops scaled the crest of 
Monte Cosmagnon, whose northerly ridges they shelled to drive 
out the enemy hidden among the rocks. On the Sette Comuni 
Plateau they kept in close contact with Austrian positions. Con- 
flicts in the densely wooded and rocky ground were carried on 
chiefly by hand grenades. 

Between the Adige and the Brenta the Italians continued 
their offensive vigorously on July 1, 1916. In the Vallarsa in- 
fantry began an attack on the lines strongly held by the Aus- 
trians between Zugna Torta and Foppiano. 

Italian artillery shelled Fort Pozzacchio. On Monte Pasubio 
the Austrians were offering stubborn resistance from their for- 
tified positions between Monte Spil and Monte Cosmagnon. 

Along the Posina-Astico line Italian forces completed the 
conquest of Monte Maggio and occupied the southern side of 
Monte Seluggio. On the Asiago Plateau there were skirmishes 
on the northern side of the Assa Valley. 

On July 2, 1916, in the region of the Adige Valley, the Aus- 
trians directed a heavy bombardment against the Italian posi- 
tions from Serravalle, north of Coni Zugna to Monte Pasubio. 
Some shells fell on Ala. Italian artillery replied effectively. The 
infantry fighting on the northern slopes of Pasubio was con- 
tinued with great violence. In the Posina Valley Italian troops 



278 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

occupied the spur to the northwest of Monte Pruche, Molino, in 
the Zara Valley (northwest of Laghi), and Scatolari, in the Rio 
Freddo Valley. The operations against Como del Coston, Monte 
Seluggio, and Monte Cimono (northwest and north of Arsiero), 
the main points of Austrian resistance, were continued. 

On the Asiago Plateau Italian detachments were pushed for- 
ward beyond the northern edge of Assa Valley. On the re- 
mainder of this sector there was a lull in the fighting, preparatory 
to further attacks on the difficult ground. In the Brenta Valley 
small encounters took place on the slopes of Monte Civaron north 
of Caldiera. 

Monte Calgari, in the Posina Valley, was occupied by the 
Italians on July 3, 1916, while other detachments completed the 
occupation of the northern edge of the Assa Valley on the Asiago 
Plateau. 

Between the Adige and the Brenta the Austrians on July 4, 
1916, contested with great determination the Italian advance and 
attempted to counterattack at various points. 

After several attempts, Alpine troops reached the summit of 
Monte Como, northwest of the Pasubio. 

In the upper Astico Basin they captured the crest of Monte 
Seluggio and advanced toward Rio Freddo. 

Between the Lagarina and Sugana Valleys the Italian of- 
fensive was continued on July 5, 1916. In the Adige Valley 
and in the upper Astico Basin pressure compelled the Austrians 
to withdraw, uncovering new batteries on comimanding posi- 
tions previously prepared by them. 

On the Asiago Plateau Italian artillery bombarded the Aus- 
trian lines actively. In the Campelle Valley the Austrians evac- 
uated the positions they still held on the Prima Lunetta, aban- 
doning arms, ammunitions and supplies. 

The following day brought some new successes to the Italians 
on the Sette Comuni Plateau. With the support of their ar- 
tillery they renewed their attack on the strongly fortified line 
of the Austrians from Monte Interrotto to Monte Campigoletto 
and captured two important points of the Austrian defenses, 
near Casera, Zebio and Malga Pozza, taking 359 prisoners, in- 



CONTINUATION OF COUNTEROFFENSIVE 279 

eluding 5 officers and 3 machine guns. Between the Adige 
and the Astico, north of the Posino and along the Rio Freddo 
and Astico Valleys there was intense artillery activity, es- 
pecially in the region of Monte Maggio and Monte Camone. 
The same condition continued throughout July 7, 1916. 

On July 8, 1916, Italian infantry advanced on the upper Astico 
in the Molino Basin and toward Fomi. Dense mist prevented 
all activity of artillery on the Sette Comuni Plateau. In the 
northern sector the Italians stormed some trenches north of 
Monte Chiesa, and occupied Agnella Pass. 

A great deal of the fighting, both during the Austro-Hungarian 
offensive in the Trentino and the Italian counteroffensive, took 
place in territory abounding with lofty mountain peaks. Though 
it was now midsummer, these were, of course, covered with 
eternal snow and ice. Austrians and Italians alike faced dif- 
ficulties and hardships, the solution and endurance of which 
would have seemed utterly impossible a few years ago until 
the Great War swept away many long-established military and 
engineering maxims. An intimate picture of this new mode 
of warfare was given by a special correspondent of the London 
"Daily Mail*' who, in part, says : 

"The villages in the lower ground behind the front have been 
aroused from their accustomed appearance of sleepy comfort. 
In their streets are swarms of soldiers on their way to the 
front or back from it for a holiday. Thousands are camping 
out in the neighborhood of the villages or billeted on the inhabit- 
ants. Constant streams of motor vehicles rumble through the 
villages on their way up the steep road, bearing ammunition, 
food and supplies of all sorts, to the batteries, trenches and 
dugouts on the peaks. 

The road over which these vehicles travel was before the war 
a mere hill path — ^now the military engineers have transformed 
it into a modern road, graded, metaled and carried by cunningly 
devised spirals and turns three-quarters of the way up the moun- 
tains. 

"It is a notable piece of miHtary engineering, but it is not 
merely that. It will serve as an artery of commerce when it 



280 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

is no longer needed for the passage of guns and army service 
wagons. There is nothing temporary or makeshift about it. 
Rocks have been blasted to leave a passage for it and solid 
bridges of stone and steel thrown across rivers. 

"Because the Austrians started with the weather gauge in 
their favor, being on the upper side of the great ridges, it was 
necessary for the Italians to get their guns as high as they could. 
The means by which they accomplished this task was de- 
scribed to me. They would seem incredible if one had not ocular 
demonstration of the actual presence of the cannon among these 
inaccessible crags. 

"There are some of them on the ice ledges of the Ortler nearly 
10,000 feet above sea level, in places which it is by way of an 
achievement for the amateur climber to reach with guides and 
ropes and porters, and nothing to take care of but his own skin. 
But here the Alpini and Frontier Guides had to bring up the 
heavy pieces, hauling them over the snow slopes and swinging 
them in midair across chasms and up knife-edged precipices, 
by ropes passed over timbers wedged somehow into the rocks. 
I was shown a photograph of a party of these pioneers working 
in these snowy solitudes last winter. They might have been a 
group of Scott's or Shackleton's men toiling in the Antarctic 
wilderness. 

"By means of a suspension railway made of wire rope with 
sliding baskets stretched across chasms of great depth, oil, meat, 
bread and wine are sent up, for the soldier must not only be 
fed, but must be fed with particular food to keep the blood cir- 
culating in his body in the cold air and chilling breezes of the 
snow-clad peaks. Kerosene stoves in great numbers have been 
sent aloft to make the life of the mountaineer soldiers more com- 
fortable." 

On July 9, 1916, there was bitter fighting between the Brenta 
and the Adige. Strong Alpine forces repeatedly attacked the 
Austrian lines southeast of Cima Dieci, but were repulsed with 
heavy losses. Shells set fire to Pedescala and other places in 
the upper Astico Valley. An attempt by the Austrians to make 
attacks on Monte Seluggio was checked promptly. 



CONTINUATION OF COUNTEROFFENSIVE 281 

In the Adige Valley another intense artillery duel was staged 
on July 10, 1916. On the Pasubio front the Italians captured 
positions north of Monte Corno, but the Austrians succeeded in 
obtaining partial repossession of them by a violent counterat- 
tack. On the Asiago Plateau Alpine detachments successfully 
renewed the attack on the Austrian positions in the Monte Chiesa 
region. 

The next day, July 11, 1916, the Italians again made some 
progress in the Adige Valley, north of Serravalle and in the 
region of Malga Zugna, and reoccupied partially some of the posi- 
tions lost on the northern slopes of Monte Pasubio on the pre- 
vious day. Heavy artillery duels took place in the Asiago Basin 
and on the Sette Comuni Plateau. 

The Austrians promptly responded on July 12, 1916, by at- 
tacking in the Adige Valley, after artillery preparation on an 
immense scale, the new Italian positions north of Malga Zugna. 
They were driven back in disorder, with heavy loss, by the 
prompt and effective concentration of the Italian gunfire. 

Fighting in the Adige Valley and on the Sette Comuni Pla- 
teau continued without cessation during the next few days 
without yielding any very definite results. In that period there 
also developed extremely severe fighting at the head of the Posina 
Valley. During the night of July 13, 1916, the Italians succeeded 
in carrying very strong Austrian positions south of Corno del 
Coston and east of the Borcola Pass, notwithstanding the strong 
resistance of the Austrians and the difficulty presented by the 
roughness of the ground. During the night the Austrians 
launched several violent but unsuccessful counterattacks in which 
they lost heavily. 

In spite of violent thunderstorms, seriously interfering with 
artillery activity, fighting continued in this sector on July 14 
and 15, 1916. Italian troops made some progress on the south- 
ern slopes of Sogli Bianchi, south of Borcola and the Corno di 
Coston and in the Boin Valley, where they occupied Vanzi on 
the northern slopes of Monte Hellugio. 

Austrian reenforcements arrived at this time, and as a result 
a series of heavy attacks was delivered in the upper Posina 



282 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

area in an attempt to stop the Italian advance between Monte 
Santo and Monte Toraro. Italian counterattacks, however, were 
launched promptly and enabled the Italian forces to maintain 
and extend their lines. Throughout the balance of July, 1916, 
the Italian troops succeeded in continuing their advance, al- 
though the Austro-Hungarian resistance showed no noticeable 
abatement and frequently was strong enough to permit not only 
very effective defensive work, but rather considerable counter- 
attacks. However, all in all, the Italians had decidedly the better 
of it. Step by step they pushed their way back into the ter- 
ritory from which the Austro-Hungarian offensive of a few 
weeks ago had driven them. 

On July 18, 1916, the Italians gained some new positions 
on the rocky slopes of the Como del Coston in the upper 
Posina Valley. Four days later, July 22, 1916, they captured 
some trenches on Monte Zebio on the Sette Comuni Plateau. 
The next day, July 23, 1916, between Cismon and Aviso they 
completed the occupation of the upper Trevignolo and St. Pel- 
legrino Valleys, taking the summit of Monte Stradone and new 
positions on the slopes of Cima di Bocche. 

On the Posina-Astico line at daybreak of July 24, 1916, after 
a fierce attack by night, they captured Monte Cimone, for the 
possession of which violent fighting had been in progress for 
days. 

Further north, Alpine troops renewed their efforts against the 
steep rock barrier rising to more than 2,000 yards between the 
peaks of Monte Chiesa and Monte Campigoletto. Under heavy 
fire from the Austrian machine guns they crossed three Hnes of 
wire and succeeded in establishing themselves just below the 
crest. 

Again and again the Austrians launched attacks against the 
Italian positions on these various mountains without, however, 
accomplishing more than retarding the further advance of Gen- 
eral Cadorna's forces*-: 

The second anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, 
August 1, 1916, found the Italians on the Trentino front still 
strongly on the offensive and well on their way toward regaining 



OPERATIONS ON AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONT 283 

all of the ground which they had lost in June and July, 1916, 
before the Austro-Hungarian offensive had been brought to a 
standstill, while the Austrians were yielding only under the force 
of the greatest pressure which their opponents could bring to 
bear on them. 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

MINOR OPERATIONS ON THE AUSTRO-ITALIAN 
FRONT IN TRENTINp OFFENSIVE 

JUST as soon as the Austro-Hungarian forces began to con- 
centrate their activities in the latter part of May, 1916, on 
their drive in the Trentino, military operations in the other sec- 
tors of the Austro-Italian front lost in importance and strength. 
During the greatest part of both the Austro-Hungarian drive 
and the Italian counteroffensive in the Trentino — May to July, 
1916 — operations along the rest of the Austro-Italian front — on 
the northwestern frontier, of Tyrol, along the Boite River in the 
northeastern Dolomites, in the Camic and Julian Alps, and on 
the Isonzo front — were practically restricted to artillery duels. 
Only occasional, and then but very local infantry engagements 
took place, none of which had any particular influence on general 
conditions in these various sectors. However, as the Italian 
counteroffensive in the Trentino progressed, there developed 
from time to time minor operations along the other parts of the 
front. Quite a number of these were initiated by the Austro- 
Hungarians, undoubtedly in the hopes that they might thereby 
reduce the Italian pressure on their newly gained successes in 
the Trentino. Others found their origin on the Italian side, which 
at all times attempted to avail itself of every opportunity to ex- 
tend and strengthen its positions anywhere along the front. And 
as the Austrian resistance against the Italian counteroffensive 
stiffened and showed no signs of abatement. General Cadoma, 
in undertaking operations in other sectors of the front than the 
Trentino, was undoubtedly influenced by motives similar to those 
guiding his opponents. He, too, hoped to impress his adversary 



284 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

sufficiently by minor operations in sectors unconnected with the 
Trentino, to reduce their strength there. 

Considerable light is thrown upon the organization of the Ital- 
ian army, which made it possible to carry on successfully these 
operations, in the following article from the pen of the special 
correspondent of the London "Times'* : 

"I have been allowed to visit the offices of the general staff at 
army headquarters and those of the administrative services at 
another point within the war zone. This is not a favorable mo- 
ment for describing how the army machinery works; but there 
is no harm done in saying that all these services appear to run 
smoothly, have good men at their head, and produce good re- 
sults. 

"I was particularly struck by the maps turned out. They do 
great credit to the Military Geographical Institute at Florence, 
and to the officers at headquarters who revise the maps as new 
information pours in. All the frontiers have been well surveyed 
and mapped on scales of 1:25,000, 1:50,000, 1:100,000, and 1:- 
200,000. These maps are very clear and good. I like best the 1 :- 
100,000, which is issued to all officers, and on which operation 
orders are based. The photographs are also very fine, and the 
panoramas excellent, while the airmen's photographs, and the 
plans compiled from them, are quite in the front rank. 

"The service of information at headquarters also appears to 
me to be good. There are more constant changes in all the Ital- 
ian staffs than we should consider desirable, and officers pass 
very rapidly from one employment to another, but in spite of 
this practice the information is well kept up, and the knowledge 
of the enemy's dispositions is up to standard, considering the 
extraordinary difficulty of following the really quite chaotic 
organization of the Austro-Hungarian forces. 

"I am not sure that I like very much the liaison system in 
Italy. The comparatively young officers intrusted with it report 
direct to army headquarters, and on their reports the communi- 
ques are usually based. These officers remind us of the missi 
dominici of the great Moltke, but on the whole I confess that the 
system does not appeal to me very much. 



OPERATIONS ON AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONT 285 

"All the rearward services of the army are united under the 
control of the intendant general, who is a big personage in Italy. 
He deals with movements, quarterings, railways, supply, muni* 
tions in transit, and, in fact, everything except drafts and avia- 
tion, both of which services come under the general staff. There 
is a representative of the intendant general in each army and 
army corps. An order of movement is repeated to the intendant 
general by telephone and he arranges for transport, food, and 
munitions. 

"The means of transport include the railways, motor lorries, 
carts, pack mules, and porters. The railways have done well. 
They had 5,000 locomotives and 160,000 carriages available when 
war broke out, and on the two lines running through Venetia, 
they managed during the period of concentration to clear 120 
trains a day. Between last May 17 and June 22, 1916, for the 
purposes of General Cadorna*s operations in the Trentino, the 
railways carried 18,000 officers, 522,000 men, about 70,000 ani- 
mals, and 16,000 vehicles, with nearly 900 guns. These figures 
have been given by the Italian press, so there is no harm done by 
alluding to them. The railway material is much better than I 
expected it to be, but coal is very dear. 

"The motor lorries work well. There are three types in use— 
the heavy commercial cars, the middleweight lorries, which 
carry over a couple of tons, and the lightweights, taking about 
one and a half tons. These lorries form an army service. Each 
army park has a group of lorries for each army corps forming 
part of the army, and each group has two sections for each di- 
vision. The motor cars of the commanders and staffs are good. 
I traveled several thousand miles in them, and having covered 
300 miles one day and 350 another, am prepared to give a good 
mark to Italian motor-car manufacturers, and also to Italian 
roads and Italian chauffeurs. 

"I may also point out that the army has hitherto administered 
the Austrian districts which have been occupied on various parts 
of the front, and has had to deal with agriculture, roads, births, 
deaths, marriages, police, and a great many other civil matters. 
As I had once seen a French corps of cavalry farming nearly 



286 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

5,000 acres of land I was prepared to see the Italian army capable 
of following suit; but I fancy that if Signor Bissolati is to take 
over all these civil duties General Porro will be far from dis- 
pleased. 

"There is the little matter of the 4,000 ladies who remain at 
Cortina d'Ampezzo while their men are away fighting in the 
Austrian ranks, and there are such questions as those of the 
Aquileia treasures, which have fortunately been preserved in- 
tact. I must confess that it is a novelty and a pleasure to enter 
an enemy's territory and sit down in a room marked Militdr 
Wachtzimmer, with all the enemy's emblems on the walls, but 
on the whole I liked best the advice evitare di fumare esplosioni 
painted by some Italian wag on an Austrian guardhouse, and 
possibly intended as a hint to Austro-German diplomacy in the 
future. 

^'The Italians regard Austria as we regard Germany, and Ger- 
many as we regard Austria. Austria is the enemy, but at the 
same time, while every, crime is attributed to Austria on slight 
suspicion, I find no unworthy depreciation of Austrian soldiers. 
I am told that while Austrian discipline is very severe, and the 
officer's revolver is ever quick to maintain it, the Austrian pri- 
vate soldier has a sense of deep loyalty toward his emperor, and 
that this is a personal devotion which will not easily be trans- 
ferred to a successor. In meeting the Kaiserjager so often the 
Italians perhaps see Austria's best, but the fact remains that the 
Italian has a good word for the Austrian as a soldier, and that 
I did not see many signs of such willful and shameless vandalism 
by the Austrians as has disgraced the name of Germany in Bel- 
gium and in France. Even towns which are or have been between 
the contending armies have not, I think, been willfully destroyed, 
but they have naturally suffered when one army or the other has 
used the town as a pivot of defense. 

"The officers who have to keep the tally of the Austrian 
forces and to locate all the divisions have my deepest sympathy. 
Long ago the Austrian army corps ceased to contain the old di- 
visions of peace times, but one now finds army corps with as 
many as four divisions, while the division may be composed of 



OPERATIONS ON AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONT 287 

anything from two to eight battalions. A certain number of the 
divisions reckoned to be against the Italians on the whole front 
are composed of dubious elements, and there are some sixty Aus- 
trian battalions of rifle clubmen. 

"The Austrians shift regiments about in such apparently hap- 
hazard fashion that it is hard to keep track of them. They may 
take half a dozen battalions from different regiments and call it 
a mountain group. In a week or two they will break it up and 
distribute the battalions elsewhere. They usually follow up their 
infantry with so-called march battalions, but whether these bat^ 
talions are 100 or 1,000 strong seems quite uncertain. Some 
surprise occurs elsewhere, and away go some of the march bat- 
talions. They may lose prisoners, say, on the Russian front, and 
the Russians naturally believe that the regiment and the division 
to which the regiment belongs are all on the Russian front, 
whereas only one weak battalion of drafts may be there and all 
the rest may still be against the Italians. The Austrians also 
take a number of regiments from a division and send them 
elsewhere, leaving a mere skeleton of the divisional command 
behind. 

"For these reasons one must regard with a good deal of scep- 
ticism any estimate which professes to give an accurate distribu- 
tion list of the Austrian army. Also it is difficult to believe that 
any real esprit de corps can remain when such practices are 
common, and we are reduced to the belief that the only real 
soldier of the army is the personal devotion to the emperor of 
which I have already written. 

"I could not find time to study the Italian air service, but 
foreign officers with the army speak well of it. The Austrian 
airmen deserve praise. They watched us daily and bombed with 
pleasing regularity. 

"My view of the war on the Italian front is that Italy is in it 
with her whole heart, and has both the will and the means to 
exercise increasing pressure on Austria, whom she is subjecting 
to a serious strain along 400 miles of difficult country. I think 
that few people in England appreciate the special and serious 
difficulties which confront both combatants along the Alpine 

S— War St. 5 



288 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

borderland, and especially Italy, because she has to attack. The 
Italian army is strong in numbers, ably commanded, well pro- 
vided, and animated by an excellent spirit. As this army be- 
comes more inured to war, and traditions of victory on hard- 
fought fields become established, the military value of the army 
is enhanced. 

"As I think over the Italian exploits during the war, I re- 
member that the men of Alps, of Piedmont and Lombardy, of 
Venetia, and Tuscany, of Rome, Naples, Sardinia, and Sicily 
have one and all contributed something to the record, and have 
had the honor of distinguished mention in General Cadoma's 
bulletins, which are austere in character and make no conces- 
sions to personal or collective ambitions. I find much to admire 
in the cool and confident bearing of the people, in the endurance 
of great fatigues by the troops, and in the silent patience of the 
wounded on the battle field. I fancy that the army is better in the 
attack than in the defense, and I should trust most with an Ital- 
ian army to an attack pressed through to the end without 
halting.'' 

The first indications of renewed activity, outside of artillery 
duels, anywhere except in the Trentino, appeared during the last 
days of June. On June 28, 1916, the Italians suddenly, after 
a comparative quiet of several months, began what appeared to 
be a strong offensive movement on the Isonzo front. They vio- 
lently bombarded portions of the front on the Doberdo Pla- 
teau (south of Goritz). In the evening heavy batteries were 
brought to bear against Monte San Michele and the region of 
San Martino. After the fire had been increased to great intensity 
over the whole plateau, Italian infantry advanced to attack. At 
Monte San Michele, near San Martino and east of Vermigliano, 
violent fighting developed. At the Goritz bridgehead the Italians 
attacked the southern portion of the Podgora position (on the 
right bank of the Isonzo), and penetrated the first line trenches 
of the Austrians, but were driven out. 

The Italian offensive was continued the next day, June 29, 
1916, and resulted in the capture of Hills 70 and 104 in the 
Monfalcone district. The Austrians undertook a counteroffen- 



OPERATIONS ON AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONT 289 

sive at Monte San Michele and Monte San Marino, on the Do- 
berdo Plateau, attacking the Italian lines under cover of gas. 
Fighting continued in the Monfalcone sector of the Isonzo front 
for about a week, during which time the Austrians vainly en- 
deavored to regain the positions which they had lost in the first 
onrush of the Italian offensive. After that it again deteriorated 
into artillery activity which was fairly constantly maintained 
throughout the balance of July, 1916, without producing any 
noteworthy changes in the general situation. 

Coincident with this short Italian offensive in the Monfalcone 
sector of the Isonzo front, there also developed considerable 
fighting to the east on the Carso Plateau, north of Trieste, which, 
however, was equally barren of definite results. 

Minor engagements between comparatively small infantry de- 
tachments occurred in the adjoining sector — ^that of the Julian 
Alps — on July 1, 1916, especially in the valleys of the Fella, Gail 
and Seebach. These were occasionally repeated, especially so on 
July 19, 1916, but throughout most of the time only artillery 
duels took place. 

In the Camic Alps hardly anything of importance occurred 
throughout the late spring and the entire summer of 1916, ex- 
cepting fairly continuous artillery bombardments, varying in 
strength and extent. 

Considerable activity, however, was the rule rather than the 
exception in the sector between the Camic Alps and the Dolo- 
mites. There, one point especially, saw considerable fighting. 
Monte Tofana, just beyond the frontier on the Austrian side, 
had been held by the Italians for a considerable period, and 
with it a small section of the surrounding country, less than five 
miles in depth. The Italians at various times attempted, with 
more or less success, to extend and strengthen their holdings, 
while the Austrians, with equal determination, tried to wrest 
from them what they had already gained, and to arrest their 
further progress. 

In this region Alpine detachments of the Italian army on the 
night of July 8, 1916, gained possession of a great part of the 
valley between Tofana Peaks Nos. 7 and 2, and of a strong 



290 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

position on Tofana Prima commanding the valley. The Austrian 
garrison was surrounded and compelled to surrender. The 
Italians took 190 prisoners, including eight officers, and also 
three machine guns, a large number of rifles and ammunition. 

A few days later, on July 11, 1916, the Italians exploded a 
mine, destroying the Austro-Hungarian defenses east of Col 
dei Bois peak. This position commanded the road of the 
Dolomites and the explosion blew it up entirely, and gave pos- 
session of it to the Italians. The entire Austrian force which 
occupied the summit was buried in the wreckage. On the 
following night the Austrians attempted to regain this position 
which the Italians had fortified strongly in the meantime, but 
the attack broke down completely. 

Three days later, July 14, 1916, Italian Alpine detachments 
surprised and drove the Austrians from their trenches near 
Castelletto and at the entrance of the Travenanzes Valley. They 
took some prisoners, including two officers, as well as two 
guns, two machine guns, one trench mortar and a large quan- 
tity of arms and ammunition. An Austrian counterattack 
against this position was launched on July 15, 1916, but was 
repulsed. 

Finally on July 30, 1916, the Italians registered one more 
success in this region. Some of their Alpine troops carried 
Porcella Wood and began an advance in the Travenanzes 
Valley. 

Throughout this period considerable artillery activity was 
maintained on both sides. As a result Cortina d'Ampezzo, on 
the Italian side, suffered a great deal from Austrian shells, while 
Toblach, on the Austrian, was the equally unfortunate recipient 
of Italian gunfire. 

On the western frontier, between Italy and Austria, along 
Val Camonica, only artillery bombardments were the order of 
the day. These were particularly severe at various times 
in the region of the Tonale Pass, but without important 
results. 

Aeroplanes, of course, were employed extenjsively, both by the 
Austro-Hungarians and the Italians, although the nature of the 



OPERATIONS ON AUSTRO-ITALIAN FRONT 291 

country did not lend itself as much to this form of modem 
warfare as in the other theaters of war. Some of these enter- 
prises have already been mentioned. The Austrians, in this 
respect, were at a decided advantage, because their airships 
had many objects for attacks in the various cities of the North 
Italian plain. Among these Bergamo, Brescia, and Padua were 
the most frequent sufferers, while Italian aeroplanes frequently 
bombarded Austrian lines of communication and depots. 



PART VI— RUSSO-TURKISH CAMPAIGN 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

RUSSIAN SUCCESSES AFTER ERZERUM 

WITH the same surprising vigor with which the Russian 
armies in the Caucasus had pushed their advance toward 
Erzerum, they took up the pursuit of the retreating Turkish 
army, after this important Armenian stronghold had capitulated 
on February 16, 1916. With Erzerum as a center the Russian 
advance spread out rapidly in all directions toward the west in 
the general direction of Erzingan and Sivas ; in the south toward 
Mush, Bitlis and the region around Lake Van, and in the north 
with the important Black Sea port of Trebizond as the objective. 
This meant a front of almost 300 miles without a single railroad 
and only a limited number of roads that really deserved that 
appellation. Almost all of this country is very mountainous. 
To push an advance in such country at the most favorable season 
of the year involves the solution of the most complicated military 
problems. The country itself offers comparatively few oppor- 
tunities for keeping even a moderate-sized army sufficiently 
supplied with food and water for men and beasts. But consid- 
ering that the Russian advance was undertaken during the 
winter, when extremely low temperatures prevail, and when 
vast quantities of snow add to all the other natural difficulties 
in the way of an advancing army, the Russian successes were 
little short of marvelous. 

As early as February 23, 1916, the right wing of the Russian 
army had reached and occupied the town of Ispir on the river 
Chorok, about fifty miles northwest of Erzerum, and halfway 

292 



RUSSIAN SUCCESSES AFTER ERZERUM 293 

between that city and Rizeh, a town on the south shore of the 
Black Sea, less than fifty miles east of Trebizond. At the same 
time Russian destroyers were bombarding the Black Sea coast 
towns. Under their protective fire fresh troops were landed 
a few days later at Atina on the Black Sea, about sixty miles 
east of Trebizond, which promptly occupied that town. From 
there they rapidly advanced southward toward Rizeh, forcing 
the Turks to evacuate their positions and capturing some prison- 
ers as well as a few guns, together with rifles and ammunition. 

The center, in the meantime, had advanced on the Erzerum- 
Trebizond road, and by February 25, 1916, occupied the town 
of Ashkala, about thirty miles from Erzerum. From all sides 
the Russian armies were closing in on Trebizond, and their 
rapid success threw the Turkish forces into consternation, for 
the loss of Trebizond would mean a serious threat to their 
further safety, having been up to then the principal point 
through which supplies and ammunition reached them steadily 
and rapidly by way of the Black Sea. No wonder then that the 
London "Times" correspondent in Petrograd was able to report 
on March 5, 1916, that all accounts agreed that the population 
of the Trebizond region were panic-stricken and fleeing even 
then in the direction of Kara-Hissar and Sivas, flight along the 
Black Sea route being out of question on account of the presence 
of Russian warships. 

In the south the left wing of the Russian army was equally 
successful. On March 1, 1916, it occupied Mamawk, less than 
ten miles north of Bitlis, a success foreshadowing the fall of that 
important Armenian city. And, indeed, on the next day, March 
2, 1916, Bitlis was occupied by the Russians. This was indeed 
another severe blow to the Turkish armies. Bitlis, 110 miles 
south of Erzerum, in Armenian Tamos, is one of the most im- 
portant trade centers, and commands a number of important 
roads. It is only about fifty miles north of the upper Tigris, 
and even though it is more than 350 miles from Bagdad, its 
Occupation by Russian forces seriously menaced the road to 
Bagdad, Bagdad itself, and even the rear of the Turkish army, 
fighting against the Anglo-Indian army in Mesopotamia. 



294 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Hardly had the Turks recovered from this blow when their 
left wing in the north suffered another serious reverse through 
the loss of the Black Sea port of Rizeh. This event took place 
on March 8, 1916, and the capture was accomplished by the 
fresh Russian troops that had been landed a few days before 
at Atina, from which Rizeh is only twenty-two miles distant. 
Along the Black Sea coast the Russians were now within thirty- 
eight miles of Trebizond. On and on the Russians pressed, and 
by March 17, 1916, their advance guard was reported within 
twenty miles of Trebizond. However, by this time Turkish 
resistance along the entire Armenian front stiffened perceptibly. 
This undoubtedly was due to reenforcements which must have 
reached the Turkish line by that time. For on March 30, 1916, 
the official Russian statement announced that seventy officers 
and 400 men who had been captured along the Caucasus littoral 
front belonged to a Turkish regiment which had previously 
fought at Gallipoli. At the same time it was also announced 
that fighting had occurred northwest of Mush. The Turkish 
forces involved in this fighting must have been recent reenforce- 
ments, because Mush is sixty-five miles northwest of Bitlis, the 
occupation of which took place about four w^eeks previously, at 
which time the region between Erzerum and Bitlis undoubtedly 
had been cleared of Turkish soldiers. Their reappearance, now 
so close to the road between Bitlis and Erzerum, presented a 
serious menace both to the center and to the left wing of Grand 
Duke Nicholas's forces, for if the Turkish troops were in large 
enough force, the Russians were in danger of having their center 
and left wing separated. This condition, of course, meant that 
until this danger was removed, the closest cooperation between 
the various parts of the Russian army became essential, and 
therefore resulted in a general slowing down of the Russian 
advance for the time being. 

In the meantime the Russian center continued its advance 
against Erzingan. This is an Armenian town of considerable 
military importance, being the headquarters of the Fourth 
Turkish Army Corps. On March 16, 1916, an engagement took 
place about sixty miles west of Erzerum, resulting in the occu- 



RUSSIAN SUCCESSES AFTER ERZERUM 295 

I ation by the Russians of the town of Mama Khatun, located on 
the western Euphrates and on the Erzerum-Erzingan-Sivas 
road. According" to the official Russian statement the Turks 
lost five cannon, some machine guns and supplies and forty-four 
officers and 770 men by capture. Here, too, however, the Turks 
began to offer a more determined resistance, and although the 
official Russian statement of the next day, March 17, 1916, 
reported a continuation of the Russian advance towards Erzin- 
gan, it also mentioned Turkish attempts at making a stand and 
spoke even of attempted counterattacks. 

This stiffening of Turkish resistance necessitated apparently 
a change in the Russian plans. No longer do we hear now of 
quick, straight, advances from point to point. But the various 
objectives toward which the Russians were directing their 
attacks — Trebizond, Erzingan, the Tigris — are attacked either 
successfully or consecutively from all possible directions and 
points of vantage. Not until now, for instance, do we hear of 
further advances toward Erzingan from the north. It will be 
recalled that as long ago as February 23, 1916, the Russians 
occupied the town of Ispir, some fifty miles northwest of 
Erzerum on the river Chorok. 

The headwaters of this river are located less than twenty- 
five miles northeast of Erzingan, and up its valley a new Russian 
offensive against Erzingan was started as soon as the new 
strength of the Turkish defensive along the direct route from 
Erzerum made itself felt. 

On April 1, 1916, and again on April 12, 1916, the Turks 
reported that they had repulsed attacks of Russian scouting 
parties advancing along the upper Chorok, and even claimed 
an advance for their own troops. But on the next day, April 
3, 1916, the Russians apparently were able to turn the tables 
on their opponents, claiming to have crossed the upper basin of 
the Chorok and to have seized strongly fortified Turkish posi- 
tions located at a height of 10,000 feet above sea level, capturing 
thereby a company of Turks. Again on the following day, 
April 4, 1916, the Russians succeeded in dislodging Turkish 
forces from powerful mountain positions. 



296 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Concurrent with these engagements, fighting took place both 
in the south and north. On April 2, 1916, a Turkish camp was 
stormed by Russian battalions near Mush to the northwest of 
Bitlis. Still farther south, about twenty-five miles southeast of 
Bitlis, the small town of Khizan had fallen into the hands of the 
Russians, who drove its defenders toward the south. The Rus- 
«ian advance to the southwest of Mush and Bitlis continued 
slowly but definitely throughout the next few days, with the 
town of Diarbekr on the right bank of the upper Tigris as its 
objective. 

Beginning with the end of March, 1916, the Turks also 
launched a series of strong counterattacks along the coastal 
front. The first of these was undertaken during the night of 
March 26, 1916, but apparently was unsuccessful. It was an 
answer to a strong attack on the part of the Russians during 
the preceding day which resulted in the dislodgment of Turkish 
troops holding strong positions in the region of the Baltatchi 
Darassi River and in the occupation by the Russians of the 
town of Off on the Black Sea, thirty miles to the east of Trebi- 
zond. This success was due chiefly to the superiority of the 
Russian naval forces, which made it possible to precede their 
infantry attack with heavy preparatory artillery fire. By March 
27, 1916, the Russians had advanced to the Oghene Dere River, 
another of the numerous small rivers flowing into the Black Sea 
between Rizeh and Trebizond. There they had occupied the 
heights of the left (west) bank. During the night the Turks 
made a series of strong counterattacks, all of which, however, 
were repulsed with considerable losses to the attackers. Another 
Turkish counterattack in the neighborhood of Trebizond was 
launched on April 4, 1916. Although strongly supported by 
gunfire from the cruiser Breslau, it was repulsed by the com- 
bined efforts of the Russian land forces and destroyers lying 
before Trebizond. During the next few days the Turks offered 
the most determined resistance to the Russian advance against 
Trebizond, especially along the river Kara Dere. This resist- 
ance was not broken until April 15, 1916, when the Turks were 
driven out of their fortified positions on tha le^t bank of that 



RUSSIAN SUCCESSES AFTER ERZERUM 297 

river by the combined action of the Russian land and naval 
forces. The Russian army was now, after almost a fortnight's 
desperate fighting, within sixteen miles of its goal, Trebizond. 
On April 16, 1916, it again advanced, occupying Surmench on 
the Black Sea, and reaching later that day, after a successful 
pursuit of the retreating Turkish army, the village of Asseue 
Kalessi, only twelve miles east of Trebizond. 

With this defeat the fall of Trebizond apparently was sealed. 
Although reports came from various sources that the Turkish 
General Staff was making the most desperate efforts to save the 
city by dispatching new reenforcements from central Anatolia, 
the Russian advance could not be stopped seriously any longer. 
Every day brought reports of new Russian successes along the 
entire Armenian front. On April 17, 1916, they occupied Drona, 
only six and a half miles east of Trebizond. Then finally, on April 
18, 1916, came the announcement that Trebizond itself had been 
taken. 

Trebizond is less important as a fortified place than as a port 
and harbor and as a source of supply for the Turkish army. It 
is in no sense a fortress like Erzerum, though the defenses of the 
town, recently constructed, are not to be despised. As a vital 
artery of communications, however, its value is apparent from 
the fact, first, that it is the Turks' chief port in this region, and 
secondly, that railway facilities, which are so inadequate 
throughout Asia Minor, are nonexistent along the northern 
coast. Hence the Turks will have to rely for the transport of 
troops and supplies upon railways which at the nearest point are 
more than 300 miles from the front at Trebizond. 

Trebizond is an ancient seaport of great commercial impor- 
tance, due chiefly to the fact that it controls the point where the 
principal trade route from Persia and central Asia to Europe, 
over Armenia and by way of Bayezid and Erzerum, descends to 
the sea. It has been the dream of Russia for centuries to put her 
hands forever upon this important "window on the Black Sea." 

Trebizond's population is about 40,000, of whom 22,000 are 
Moslems and 18,000 Christians. The city first figured in history 
during the Fourth Crusade, when Alexius Comneaus, with an 



298 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

army of Iberian mercenaries, entered it and established himself 
as sovereign. In, 1461 Trebizond was taken by Mohammed II, 
after it had for two centuries been the capital of an empire, 
having defied all attacks, principally by virtue of its isolated 
position, between a barrier of rugged mountains of from 7,000 
to 8,000 feet and the sea. 

As far as capturing important ports of the Turkish left wing 
was concerned, the victory of Trebizond was an empty one. For 
the Turks evacuated the town apparently a day or two before the 
Russians occupied it. The latter, therefore, had only the capture 
of "some 6-inch guns" to report. This quick evacuation, at any 
rate, was fortunate for the town and its inhabitants, for it saved 
them from a bombardment and the town did not suffer at all as 
a result of the military operations. 

The campaign resulting in the fall of Trebizond did really not 
begin until after the fall of Erzerum on February 16, 1916. Up 
to that time the Russian Caucasian army had apparently been 
satisfied to maintain strong defensive positions along the Turk- 
ish border. But since the occupation of Erzerum a definite plan 
of a well-developed offensive was followed looking toward the 
acquisition of Turkish territory which had long been coveted by 
Russia. 

With the fall of Trebizond Russia became the possessor, 
at least temporarily, of a strip of territory approximately 125 
miles wide along a front of almost 250 miles length, or of an 
area of 31,250 square miles. In the north this valuable acquisi- 
tion was bounded by that part of the south shore of the Black 
oea that stretches from Batum in Russian Transcaucasia to 
Trebizond. In the south it practically reached the Turko-Persian 
frontier, while in the west it almost reached the rough line 
formed by the upper Euphrates and the upper Tigris. It thus 
comprised the larger part of Armenia. As soon as the Russians 
had found out that the Turks had a start of almost two days, 
they began an energetic pursuit. The very first day of it, April 
19, 1916, brought them into contact with Turkish rear guards 
and resulted in the capture of a considerable number of them. 
The retreat of the Turks took a southwesterly direction toward 



RUSSIAN SUCCESSES AFTER ERZERUM 299 

Baiburt along the Trebizond-Erzerum road and toward Erzin- 
gan, to which a road branches off the Trebizond-Erzerum road. 
Baiburt was held by the Turks with a force strong enough to 
make it impossible for the Russians to cut off the Trebizond 
garrison. Along the coast the Russians found only compara- 
tively weak resistance, so that they were able to land fresh forces 
west of Trebizond and occupy the town of Peatana, about ten 
miles to the west on the Black Sea. 

A desperate struggle, however, developed for the possession ^ 
of the Trebizond-Erzerum road. The Russians had been astride 
this road for some time as far as Madan Khan and Kop, both 
about fifty miles northwest of Erzerum and just this side of 
Baiburt. There the Turks put up a determined resistance and 
succeeded in holding up the Russian advance. Although they 
were not equally successful farther north, the Russians man- 
aged to advance along this road to the south of Trebizond only 
as far as Jeyizlik — about sixteen miles south of Trebizond — 
where they were forced into the mountains toward the Kara 
Dere River. This left still the larger part of the entire road in 
possession of the Turks, and especially that part from which an- 
other road branched off to Erzingan. 

In the Mush and Bitlis region the Russians had made satis- 
factory progress in the meantime. On April 19, 1916, progress 
was reported to the south of Bitlis toward Sert, although the 
Turks fought hard to hold up this advance toward Diarbekr. 
This advance was the direct result of the defeat which the Rus- 
sians had inflicted on a Turkish division at Bitlis as early as 
April 15, 1916. By April 23, 1916, the Turks had again gathered 
some strength and were able to report that they had repulsed 
Russian attacks south of Bitlis, west of Mush, east of Baiburt, 
and south of Trebizond. From then on, however, the Russians 
again advanced to the south of Bitlis as well as in the direction 
of Erzingan. By the beginning of May, 1916, the Russian official 
statements do not speak any longer of the "region south of 
Bitlis," but mention instead "the front toward Diarbekr." This 
important town is about 100 miles southwest of Bitlis, and ap- 
parently had become, after the fall of Trebizond, together with 



300 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Erzingan, one of the immediate objectives of the Russian cam- 
paign. 

Diarbekr is a town of 35,000 inhabitants, whose importance 
arises from its being the meeting point of the roads from the 
Mediterranean via Aleppo and Damascus from the Black Sea 
via Amasia-IGiarput, and Erzerum and from the Persian Gulf 
via Bagdad. Ras-el-Ain, the present railhead of the Bagdad 
railway, is seventy miles south. 

The stiffening of the Turkish defensive was being maintained 
as April, 1916, waned and May approached. The Russian cam- 
paign in the Caucasus had resolved itself now into three distinc- 
tive parts : In the north its chief objective, Trebizond, had been 
reached and gained. There further progress, of course, would 
be attempted along the shore of the Black Sea, and in a way it 
was easier to achieve progress here than at any other part of the 
Caucasian front. For first of all the nature of the ground along 
the coast of the Black Sea was much less difficult, and then, too, 
the Russian naval forces could supply valuable assistance. That 
progress was not made faster here hy the Russians was due en- 
tirely to the fact that the advance along the two other sectors 
was more difficult and the Turkish resistance more desperate. 
And, of course, if the front of any one sector was pushed con- 
siderably ahead of the front of the other two, grave danger im- 
mediately arose that the most advanced sector would be cut off 
from the rest of the Russian armies by flank movements. For 
in a country such as Turkish Armenia, without railroads and 
with only a few roads, it was of course impossible to establish a 
continuous front line, such as was to be formed on the European 
battle fields both in the east and west. This explains why by May 
1, 1916, the Russian front had been pushed less than twenty- 
five miles west of Trebizond, even though almost two weeks had 
elapsed since the fall of Trebizond. 

In the center sector the immediate objective of the Russians 
was Erzingan. Beyond that they undoubtedly hoped to advance 
to Swas, an important Turkish base. Toward this objective two 
distinct lines of offensive had developed by now — one along the 
valley of the river Oborok and the other along the Erzerum- 



RUSSIAN SUCCESSES AFTER ERZERUM 301 

Erzingan road and the valley of the western Euphrates. The 
latter was somewhat more successful than the former, chiefly be- 
cause it did not offer so many natural means of defense. But to 
both of these offensives the Turks now offered a most determined 
resistance, and the Russians, though making progress continu- 
ously, did so only very slowly. 

In the southern sector conditions were very similar. Here, 
too, two separate offensives had developed, although they were 
more closely correlated than in the center. One was directed in 
a southwestern direction from Mush, and the other in the same 
direction from Bitlis. Both had as their objective Diarbekr, an 
important trading center on the Tigris and a future station on 
tlie unfinished part of the Bagdad railroad. Here, too, Russian 
progress was fairly continuous but very slow. 

Some interesting details regarding the tremendous difficulties 
which nature put in the way of any advancing army, and which 
were utilized by the Turks to their fullest possibility, may be 
gleaned from the following extracts from letters written by 
Russian officers serving at the Caucasian front : 

"We have traveled sixty miles in two days, and never have we 
been out of sight of the place from whence we started. South 
and north we have scouted until we have come into touch with 
the cavalry of the Corps of the vedettes which the Cos- 
sacks of the Don furnished for the Brigade. Sometimes 

it is wholly impossible to ride. The slopes of these hills are cov- 
ered with huge bowlders, behind any of which half a company of 
the enemy might be lurking. That has been our experience, and 

poor K was shot dead while leading his squadron across 

a quite innocent-looking plateau from which we thought the 
enemy had been driven. 

"As it turned out, a long line of bowlders, which he thought 
were too small to hide anything but a sniper, in reality marked 
a rough trench line which a Kurdish regiment was holding in 

strength, K was shot down, as also was his lieutenant, 

and half the squadron were left on the ground. Fortunately, at 
the foot of the road leading down to the plateau, the sergeant 
who led the men out of action found one of our Caucasian regi- 



802 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

ments who are used to dealing with the fezzes, and they came 
up at the double, and after two hours' fighting were reenforced 
by another two companies and carried the trench. 

"Farther back we found the enemy in a stronger plateau. Al- 
most within sight of the enemy we made tea and rested beforo 
attempting to push forward to the fight. 

"An officer of the staff who does not understand the Caucasian 
way reproved the colonel for delaying, but he took a very philo- 
sophical view, and pointed out that it was extremely doubtful 
whether he even now had men enough to carry the enormous 
position, and that he certainly could not do so with exhausted 
troops. So we had the extraordinary spectacle of our men lying 
down flat, blowing their fires and drinking their tea and laugh- 
ing and joking as though they were at a picnic, but when they 
had finished and had formed up they made short work of the 
fellows in the trench. But think of what would have happened 
if we had left this plateau unsearched!" 

"On the Baiburt road," writes another Russian officer, "there 
was one small pass which had been roughly reconnoitered, and 
through this we were moving some of the heavy guns, not imag- 
ining that there were any Turks within ten miles, when a heavy 
fire was opened from a fir wood a thousand feet above us. The 
limbers of the guns were a long way in the rear, and there was 
no way of shelling this enemy from his aerie. There was nothing 
to do .but for the battalion which was acting as escort to the guns 
to move up the slope under a terrific machine-gun and rifle fire 
and investigate the strength of the attack. The guns were left 
on the road, and mules and horses were taken to whatever cover 
could be found, and an urgent message was sent back to the ef- 
fect that the convoy was held up, but the majority of the infantry 
had already passed the danger point. Two mountain batteries 
were commandeered, however, and these came into action, firing 
incendiary shells into the wood, which was soon blazing at sev- 
eral points. 

"The battle which then began between the Turks who had been 
ejected from the wood and the gun escort lasted for the greater 
part of the afternoon. It was not until sunset that two of our 



RUSSIAN SUCCESSES AFTER ERZERUM 303 

batteries, which had been brought back from the front for the 
purpose, opened fire upon the Turks' position, and the ambushers 
were compelled to capitulate. The progress on the left was even 
more difficult than that which we experienced in the northern 
sector. •The roads were indescribable. Where they mounted and 
crossed the intervening ridges they were almost impassable, 
whilst in the valleys the gun carriages sank up to their axles in 
liquid mud." 

From still another source we hear : 

''In the Van sector a Russian brigade was held up by a forest 
fire, started by the Turks, which made all progress impossible. 
For days a brigade had to sit idle until the fire had burned itself 
out, and even when they moved forward it was necessary to 
cover all the munition wagons with wet blankets, and the ashes 
through which the stolid Russians marched were so hot as to 
bu/n away the soles of their boots. 

"A curious discovery which was made in this extraordinary 
march was the remains of a Turkish company which had evi- 
dently been caught in the fire they had started and had been 
unable to escape." 

On May 1, 1916, Russian Cossacks were able to drive back 
Turkish troops, making a stand somewhere west of Erzerum and 
east of Erzingan. Other detachments of the same service of the 
Russian army were equally successful on May 2, 1916, in driving 
back toward Diarbekr resisting Turkish forces west of Mush and 
Bitlis, and a similar achievement was officially reported on May 
3, 1916. On the same date Russian regiments made a successful 
night attack in the upper Chorok basin which netted some im- 
portant Turkish positions, which were immediately strongly 
fortified. May 4, 1916, brought a counterattack on the part of 
Turkish forces in the Chorok sector at the town of Baiburt, 
which, however, was repulsed. On the same day the Russians 
stormed Turkish trenches along the Erzerum-Erzingan road, 
during which engagement most savage bayonet fighting devel- 
oped, ending in success for the Russian armies. Turkish attacks 
west of Bitlis were likewise repulsed. On May 5, 1916, the Turks 
attempted to regain the t'^enches in the Erzingan sector lost the 

T— War St. 5 



304 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

day before, but although their attack was supported by artillery, 
it was not successful. 

The Russian official statement of May 7, 1916, gives some data 
concerning the booty which the Russians captured at Trebizond. 
It consisted of eight mounted coast defense guns, fourteen 6-inch 
guns, one field gun, more than 100 rifles, fifty-three ammunition 
wagons, supply trains and other war material. This, taken in 
connection with the fact that practically the entire Turkish 
garrison escaped, confirms the view expressed previously that 
the capture of Trebizond was of great importance to the Rus- 
sians, not so much on account of what they themselves gained 
thereby, but on account of what the Turks lost by being deprived 
of their principal harbor on the Black Sea, comparatively close 
to the Caucasian theater of war. 

The Turkish artillery attack of May 5, 1916, in the Erzingan 
sector was duplicated on May 7, 1916, but this time the Russians 
used their guns, and apparently with telling effect. For so dev- 
astating was the Russian fire directed toward the newly estab- 
lished Turkish trenches that the Turks had to evacuate their en- 
tire first line and retire to their second line of defensive works. 
Throughout the entire day on May 8, 1916, the Turks doggedly 
attacked the Russian positions. Losses on both sides were heavy, 
especially so on the Turkish side, which hurled attack after at- 
tack against the Russian positions, not desisting until nightfall. 
Though no positive gain was made thereby, the Russians at least 
were prevented from further advances. The same day. May 8, 
1916, yielded another success for the Russians in the southern 
sector, south of Mush. There, between that town and Bitlis, 
stretches one of the numerous mountain ranges, with which this 
region abounds. On it the Turks held naturally strong positions 
which had been still more strengthened by means of artificial 
defense works. A concentrated Russian attack, prepared and 
supported by artillery fire, drove the Turks not only from these 
positions, but out of the mountain range. 

On May 9, 1916, engagements took place along the entire front. 
In the center fighting occurred near Mount Koph, in the Chorok 
basin southeast of Baiburt, and the Turks made some 300 pris- 



RUSSIAN SUCCESSES AFTER ERZERUM 305 

oners. Farther south a Turkish attack near Mama Khatun was 
stopped by Russian fire. In the south another Turkish attack 
in the neighborhood of Kirvaz, about twenty-five miles northwest 
of Mush, forced back a Russian detachment after capturing some 
fifty men. All this time the Russians were industriously build- 
ing fortifications along the Black Sea coast both east and west 
of Trebizond. During the night of May 9, 1916, the Turks made 
a successful surprise attack against a Russian camp near 
Baschkjoej, about thirty-five miles southeast of Mama Khatun. 
There a Russian detachment consisting of about 500 men, of 
which one-half was cavalry and one-half infantry, found them- 
selves suddenly surrounded by the bayonets of a superior Turk- 
ish force. All, except a small number who managed to escape, 
were cut to pieces. 

As the Russians succeeded in pushing their advance westward, 
even if only very slowly, they became again somewhat more ac- 
tive in the north along the Black Sea. On May 10, 1916, they 
were reported advancing both south and southwest of Platana, 
a small seaport about twelve miles west of Trebizond. Through- 
out May 11, 1916, engagements of lesser importance took place 
at various parts of the entire front. During that night the Turks 
launched another strong night attack in the Erzingan sector, 
without, however, being able to register any marked success. The 
same was true of an attack made May 12, 1916, near Mama 
Khatun. In the south, between Mush and Bitlis, an engagement 
which was begun on May 10, 1916, concluded with the loss of 
one Turkish gun, 2,000 rifles and considerable stores of ammu- 
nition. In the Chorok sector the Turks succeeded on May 13, 
1916, in driving the Russian troops out of their positions on 
Mount Koph and in forcing them back in an easterly direction 
for a distance of from four to five miles. There, however, the 
Russians succeeded in making a stand, though their attempt to 
regain their positions failed. May 14, 1916, was comparatively 
uneventful. Some Russian reconnoitering parties clashed with 
Turkish advance guards near Mama Khatun, and a small force 
of Kurds was repulsed west of Bitlis. On May 16, 1916, the Rus- 
sians announced officially that they had occupied Mama Khatun, 



306 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

a small town on the western Euphrates, about fifty miles west 
of Erzerum and approximately the same distance from Erzingan. 
Throughout the balance of May, 1916, fighting along the Cau- 
casian front was restricted ahnost entirely to clashes between 
outposts, which in some instances brought slight local successes 
to the Russian arms, and at other times yielded equally unimpor- 
tant gains for the Turkish sides. To a certain extent this slowing 
down undoubtedly was due to the determined resistance on the 
part of the Turks. It is also quite likely that part of the Rus- 
sian forces in the north had been diverted earlier in the month 
to the south in order to assist in the drive against Bagdad and 
Moone, which was pushed with increased vigor just previous to 
and right after the capitulation of the Anglo-Indian forces at 
Kut-el-Amara in Mesopotamia. 



PART VII— CAMPAIGN IN MESOPOTAMIA 
AND PERSIA 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

RENEWED ATTEMPT TO RELIEVE 
KUT-EL-AMARA 

AS far as the Turko-English struggle in the Tigris Valley is 
concerned, the preceding volume carried us to the beginning 
of March, 1916. On March 8, 1916, an official English com- 
munique was published which raised high hopes among the Allied 
nations that the day of delivery for General Townshend's force 
was rapidly approaching. That day was the ninety-first day of 
the memorable siege of Kut-el-Amara. On it the English relief 
force under General Aylmer had reached the second Turkish line 
at Es-Sinn, only eight miles from Kut-el-Amara. After an all 
night march the English forces, approaching in three columns 
against the Dujailar Redoubt, attacked immediately after day- 
break. Both flanks of the Turkish line were subjected to heavy 
artillery fire. But, although this resulted quickly in a wild stam- 
pede of horses, camels and other transport animals and also 
inflicted heavy losses in the ranks of the Turkish reenf orcements, 
which immediately came up in close order across the open ground 
in back of the Turkish position, the English troops could not 
make any decisive impression on the strongly fortified position. 
Throughout the entire day, March 8, 1916, the attacks were kept 
up, but the superior Turkish forces and the strong fortifications 
that had been thrown up would not yield. Lack of water — all 
of which had to be brought up from the main camp — made it 
impossible for the English troops to maintain these attacks be- 

S07 



308 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

yond the end of that day. In spite of the fact that they could 
see the flash of the guns of their besieged compatriots who were 
attacking the rear of the Turkish hne from Kut, they were forced 
to give up their attempt to raise the siege. During the night 
of March 8, 1916, they returned to the main camp, which was 
located about twenty-three miles from Kut-el-Amara. 

The unusual conditions and the immense difficulties which con- 
fronted the English relief force may be more easily understood 
from the following very graphic description of this undertaking 
rendered by the official representative of the British press with 
the Tigris Corps : 

''The assembly was at the Pools of Siloam, a spot where we 
used to water our horses, two miles southwest of Thorny Nullah. 
We left camp at seven, just as it was getting dark. We had gone 
a mile when we saw the lamps of the assembly posts — thousands 
of men were to meet here from different points, horse, foot, and 
guns. They would proceed in three columns to a point south of 
west, where they would bifurcate and take a new direction. Col- 
umns A and B making for the depression south of the Dujailar 
Redoubt, Column C for a point facing the Turkish lines between 
the Dujailar and Sinn Aftar Redoubts. There was never such 
a night march. Somebody quoted Tel-el-Kebir as a precedent, 
but the difficulties here were doubled. The assembly and guid- 
ance of so large a force over ground untrodden by us previously, 
and featureless save for a nullah and some scattered sand hills, 
demanded something like genius in discipline and organization. 

"I was with the sapper who guided the column. Our odd 
little party reported themselves to the staff officer under the 
red lamp of Column A. 'Who are you T he asked, and it tickled 
my vanity to think that we, the scouts, were for a moment the 
most vital organ of the whole machine. If anything miscarried 
with us, it would mean confusion, perhaps disaster. For in 
making a flank march round the enemy's position we were dis- 
regarding, with justifiable confidence, the first axiom of war. 

"We were an odd group. There was the sapper guide. He 
had his steps to count and his compass to look to when his 
eye was not on a bearing of the stars. And there was the guard 



RENEWED ATTEMPT AT KUT-EL-AMARA 309 

of the guide to protect him from the — suggestions of doubts 
as to the correctness of his line. Everything must depend on 
one head, and any interruption might throw him off his course. 
As we were starting I heard a digression under the lamp. 

" 'I make it half past five from Sirius.* 

" *I make it two fingers left of that.* 

" 'Oh, you are going by the corps map.' 

" *Two hundred and six degrees true.' 

" *I was going by magnetic bearing.' 

"Ominous warning of what might happen if too many guides 
directed the march. 

"Then there was the man with the bicycle. We had no cyclom- 
eter, but two men checked the revolution of the wheel. And 
there were other counters of steps, of whom I was one, for count- 
ing and comparison. From these an aggregate distance was 
struck. But it was not until we were well on the march that 
I noticed the man with the pace stick, who staggered and reeled 
like an inebriated crab in his efforts to extricate his biped from 
the unevennesses of the ground before he was trampled down 
by the column. I watched him with a curious fascination, and 
as I grew sleepier and sleepier that part of my consciousness 
which was not counting steps, recognized him as a cripple who 
had come out to Mesopotamia in this special role 'to do his bit.' 
His humped back, protruding under his mackintosh as he labored 
forward, bent into a hoop, must have suggested the idea which 
was accepted as fact until I pulled myself together at the next 
halt and heard the mechanical and unimaginative half of me 
repeat Tour thousand, seven hundred, and twenty-one.' The 
man raised himself into erectness with a groan, and a crippled 
greengrocer whom I had known in my youth, to me the basic 
type of hunchback — became an upstanding British private. 

"Walking thus in the dark with the wind in one's face at a 
kind of funeral goose step it is very easy to fall asleep. The 
odds were that we should blunder into some Turkish picket or 
patrol. Looking back it was hard to realize that the inky masses 
behind, like a column of following smoke, was an army on the 
march. The stillness was so profound one heard nothing save 



310 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

the howl of the jackal, the cry of fighting geese, and the un- 
greased wheel of an ammunition limber, or the click of a picket- 
ing peg against a stirrup. 

"The instinct to smoke was almost irresistible. A dozen times 
one's hands felt for one*s pipe, but not a match was struck in all 
that army of thousands of men. Sometimes one feels that one is 
moving in a circle. One could swear to lights on the horizon, 
gesticulating figures on a bank. 

"Suddenly we came upon Turkish trenches. They were 
empty, an abandoned outpost. The column halted, made a cir- 
cuit. I felt that we were involved in an inextricable coil, a knot 
that could not be unraveled till dawn. We were passing each 
other, going different ways, and nobody knew who was who. 
But we swung into direct line without a hitch. It was a miracle 
of discipline and leadership. 

"At the next long halt, the point of bifurcation, the counter of 
steps was relieved. An hour after the sapper spoke. The 
strain was ended. We had struck the sand hills of tlie Dujailar 
depression. Then we saw the flash of Townshend's guns at 
Kut, a comforting assurance of the directness of our line. That 
the surprise of the Turk was complete was shown by the fires 
in the Arab encampments, between which we passed silently in 
the false dawn. A mile or two to our north and west the camp- 
fires of the Turks were already glowing. 

"Flank guards were sent out. They passed among the Arab 
tents without a shot being fired. Soon the growing light dis- 
closed our formidable numbers. Ahead of us there was a camp 
in the nullah itself. An old man just in the act of gathering 
fuel walked straight into us. He threw himself on his knees 
at my feet and lifted his hands with a biblical gesture of suppli- 
cation crying out, *Ar-rab, Ar-rab,' an effective, though probably 
unmerited, shibboleth. As he knelt his women at the other end of 
the camp were driving off the village flock. Here I remem- 
bered that I was alone with the guide of a column in an event 
which ought to have been as historic as the relief of Khartum." 

After this unsuccessful attempt at relief comparative quiet 
reigned for about a week, interrupted only by occasional encoun- 



RENEWED ATTEMPT AT KUT-EL-AMARA 311 

ters between small detachments. On March 11, 1916, English 
outposts had advanced again about seven miles toward Kut-el- 
Amara to the neighborhood of Abn Roman, among the sand 
hills on the right bank of the Tigris. There they surprised at 
dawn a small Turkish force and made some fifty prisoners, in- 
cluding two officers. Throughout the next two or three days 
intermittent gunfire and sniping were the only signs of the con- 
tinuation of the struggle. On March 15, 1916, two Turkish 
guns were put out of action and during that night the Turks 
evacuated the sand hills on the right bank of the river, which 
were promptly occupied by English troops in the early morning 
hours of March 16, 1916. 

During the balance of March, 1916, conditions remained prac- 
tically unchanged. The siege of General Townshend's force was 
continued by the Turks along the same lines to which they had 
adhered from its beginning — a process of starving their oppon- 
ents gradually into surrender. No attempt was made by them to 
force the issue, except that on March 23, 1916, the English gen- 
eral reported that his camp at Kut-el-Amara had been subjected 
to intermittent bombardment by Turkish airships and guns 
during March 21, 22, and 23, 1916. No serious damage, how- 
ever, was inflicted. 

As spring advanced the difficulties of the English forces at- 
tempting the relief of General Townshend increased, for with 
the coming of spring, there also came about the middle of 
March — the season of floods. Up in the Armenian highlands, 
whence the Tigris springs, vast quantities of snow then begin to 
melt. Throughout March, April, and May, 1916, a greatly in- 
creased volume of water finds the regular shallow bed of the 
Tigris woefully insufficient for its needs. The entire lack of 
jetties and artificial embankments results in the submersion of 
vast stretches of land adjacent to the river. Military opera- 
tions along its banks then become quite impossible, although in 
many places this impossibility exists throughout the entire year, 
because the land on both sides of the river for miles and miles 
has been permitted to deteriorate into bottomless swamps, 
through which even the ingenuity of highly trained engineering 



812 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

troops finds it impossible to construct a roadway within the 
available space of time. 

These natural difficulties were still more increased by the fact 
that the equipment of the relief force was not all that might 
have been expected. This is well illustrated by the following 
letter from a South African officer, published in ttie "Cape 
Times :" 

"The river Tigris plays the deuce with the surrounding coun- 
try when it gets above itself, from melting snows coming down 
from the Caucasus, when it frequently tires of its own course 
and tries another. The river is the only drinking water, and you 
can imagine the state of it when Orientals have anything to 
do with it. A sign of its fruity state is the fact that sharks 
abound right up to Kuma. 

"We have all kinds of craft up here, improvised for use higher 
up. His Majesty's ship Clio, a sloop, was marked down in 
1914 to be destroyed as obsolete, but she, with her sister ships, 
Odin and Espiegle, have done great work in the battles to date. 
Now that we have got as far as Amara and Nassariyeh, the 
vessels that give the greatest assistance are steam launches with 
guns on them, flat-bottomed Irrawaddy paddle steamers. For 
troops we have 'nakelas' a local sailing vessel, and have 'hel- 
iums,' a long, narrow, small cone-shaped thing, holding from 
fifteen to twenty men ; barges for animals, etc. Rafts have been 
used higher up to mount guns on. Here we have also motor 
boats. 

"The difficulties as we advance are increased to a certain ex- 
tent, though country and climate are improving. Our lines of 
communication will lengthen out, and we shall have to look out 
for Arab tribes raiding. Our aerial service is increasing; we 
have now a Royal Navy flight section, which has hydroplanes 
as well." 

In spite of these handicaps, however. General Lake, in com- 
mand of the English relief force, reported on April 5, 1916, that 
a successful advance was in progress and that the Tigris Corps 
at five o'clock in the morning of that day had made an attack 
against the Turkish position at Umm-el-Hannah, and had car- 



RENEWED ATTEMPT AT KUT-EL-AMARA 313 

ried the Turkish intrenchments. Umm-el-Hannah is at a much 
greater distance from Kut-el-Amara than Es-Sinn which was 
reached on March 8, 1916, but from where the relief force had 
to withdraw again that same night to a position only a short 
distance beyond Umm-el-Hannah. However, it is located on 
the left bank of the Tigris, the same as Kut-el-Amara, and the 
success of taking this position, small as it was, promised there- 
fore, once more an early relief of General Townshend. 

This successful attack against Umm-el-Hannah on April 5, 
1916, was carried out by the Thirteenth Division, which had 
previously fought at the Dardanelles. It now stood under the 
command of Lieutenant General Sir G. Gorringe who had suc- 
ceeded to General Aylmer. The most careful preparations had 
been made for it. For many weeks British engineering troops 
had pushed forward a complicated series of sap works, covering 
some sixteen miles and allowing the British forces to approach 
to within 100 yards of the Turkish intrenchments. With the 
break of dawn on April 5, 1916, bombing parties were sent for- 
ward. Whose cheers soon announced the fact that they had in- 
vaded the first line of Turkish trenches. Already on the pre- 
vious day the way had been cleared for them by their artillery, 
which by means of incessant fire had destroyed the elaborate 
wire entanglements which the Turks had constructed in front 
of their trenches. 

The storming of the first line of trenches was followed quickly 
by an equally successful attack on the second line. By 6 a. m., 
one hour after the beginning of the attack, the third line had 
been carried with the assistance of concentrated machine-gun 
and artillery fire. Within another hour the same troops had 
stormed and occupied the fourth and fifth lines of the Turks. 
The latter thereupon were forced to fall back upon their next 
line of defensive works at Felahieh and Sanna-i-Yat, about 
four and six miles respectively farther up the river. Reen- 
forcements were quickly brought up from the Turkish main 
position at Es-Sinn, some farther ten miles up, and with fever- 
ish haste the intrenchments were made stronger. General Gor- 
ringe's aeroplane scouts promptly observed and reported these 



814 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

operations, and inasmuch as the ground between these new 
positions and the positions which had just been gained by 
the British troops is absolutely flat and offers no means of 
cover whatsoever, the British advance was stopped for the time 
being. 

In the meantime the Third British Division under General 
Keary had advanced along the right bank of the river and had 
carried Turkish trenches immediately in front of the Felahieh 
position. In the afternoon of April 5, 1916, the Turks tried to 
regain these trenches by means of a strong counterattack with 
infantry, cavalry and artillery, but were unable to dislodge the 
British forces. 

With nightfall General Gorringe again returned to the attack 
along the left bank and stormed the Felahieh position. Here, 
too, the Turks had constructed a series of successive deep 
trenches, some of which were taken by the British battalions 
only at the point of the bayonet. This attack as well as all 
the previous attacks were, by the nature of the ground over 
which they had to be fought, frontal attacks. For all the Turk- 
ish positions rested on one side of the river and on the other 
on the Suwatcha swamps, excluding, therefore, any flank attack 
on the part of the British forces. 

Again General Gorringe halted his advance, influenced un- 
doubtedly by the open ground and increasing difficulties caused 
by stormy weather and floods. April 6, 7, and 8, 1916, were 
devoted by the British forces to the closest possible reconnois- 
sance of the Sanna-i-Yat position and to the necessary prepara- 
tory measures for its attack, while the Turks energetically 
strengthened this position by means of new intrenchments and 
additional reenforcements from their position at Es-Sinn. 

With the break of dawn on April 19, 1916, General Gorringe 
again attacked the Turkish lines at Sanna-i-Yat. The attack 
was preceded by heavy artillery fire lasting more than an hour. 
In the beginning the British troops entered some of the Turkish 
trenches, but were driven back at the point of the bayonet. 
After this stood success. Again the floods came to the assistance 
of the Turkish troops. Increasing, as they were, day by day, 



RENEWED ATTEMPT AT KUT-EL-AMARA 315 

they covered more and more of the ground adjoining the river 
bed and thereby narrowed the front, on which an attack could 
be delivered, so much so that most of its force was bound to be 
lost. According to Turkish reports the British lost over 3,000 
hi dead. Although the British commanding general stated that 
his losses were much below this number, they must have been 
very heavy, from the very nature of the ground and climatic 
conditions, and much heavier, indeed, than those of the Turks 
which officially were stated to have been only seventy-nine killed, 
168 wounded and nine missing. 

After this unsuccessful attempt to advance further a lull en- 
sued for a few days. On April 12, 1916, however, the Third 
Division again began to attack on the right bank of the Tigris 
and pushed back the Turks over a distance varying from one 
and one-half to three miles. At the same time a heavy gale in- 
undated some of the advanced Turkish trenches on the left 
bank at Sanna-i-Yat with the waters from the Suwatcha 
marshes. This necessitated a hurried withdrawal to new posi- 
tions, which British guns made very costly for the Turks. A 
heavy gale made further operations impossible for either side on 
April 13 and 14, 1916. On the following day, April 15, 1916, 
the Third Division again advanced a short distance on the right 
bank, occupying some of the advanced Turkish trenches. Fur- 
ther trenches were captured on April 16 and 17, 1916, at which 
time the Turks lost between 200 and 300 in killed, 180 by cap- 
ture as well as two field and five machine guns, whereas the Eng- 
lish losses were stated to have been much smaller. This was 
due to the fact that for once the English forces had been able 
to place their guns so that their infantry was enabled to ad- 
vance under their protection up to the very trenches of the 
Turks, which, at the same time, were raked by the gunfire and 
fell comparatively easily into the hands of the attackers. The 
latter immediately pressed their advantage and succeeded in 
advancing some hundred yards beyond the position previously 
held by the Turks near Beit Eissa. Here, as well as during the 
fighting of the few preceding days, the British troops were fre- 
quently forced to advance wading in water up to their waist, 



816 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

after having spent the night before in camps which had no more 
solid foundation than mud. They were now within four miles 
of the Turkish position at Es-Sinn, which in turn was less than 
ten miles from Kut-el-Amara. However, this position had been 
made extremely strong by the Turks and extended much fur- 
ther to the north and south of the Tigris than any of the posi- 
tions captured so far by the British relief force. 

In spite of this the Turks recognized the necessity of defend- 
ing the intermediate territory to the best of their abiUty. After 
the British success at Beit Eissa in the early morning of April 
17, 1916, they again brought up strong reenforcements from 
Es-Sinn, and at once launched two strong counterattacks, both of 
which, however, were repulsed by the British. 

During the night of April 17 and 18, 1916, the Turks again 
made a series of counterattacks in force on the right bank of the 
Tigris, and this time they succeeded in pushing back the British 
lines between 500 and 800 yards. According to English reports, 
about 10,000 men were involved on the Turkish side among 
whom there were claimed to be some Germans. The same 
source estimates Turkish losses in dead alone to have been more 
than 3,000, and considerably in excess of the total British losses. 
On the other hand the official Turkish report places the latter as 
above 4,000, and also claims the capture of fourteen machine 
guns. Storms set in again on April 18 and 19, 1916, and pre- 
vented further operations. 

Beginning with April 20, 1916, the rehef force prepared for 
another attack of the Sanna-i-Yat position on the left bank of 
the Tigris, by a systematic bombardment of it, lasting most of 
that night, the following night, April 21, 1916, and the early 
morning of April 22, 1916. On that day another attack was 
launched. Again the flooded condition of the country fatally 
handicapped the British troops. To begin with, there was only 
enough dry ground available for one brigade to attack, and 
that on a very much contracted front against superior forces. 
To judge from the official British report, the leading formations 
of this brigade gallantly overcame the severe obstacles in their 
way in the form of logs and trencher full of water. But, al- 



RENEWED ATTEMPT AT KUT-EL-AMARA 317 

though they succeeded in penetrating the Turkish first and sec- 
ond lines, and in some instances even in reaching the third 
lines, their valor brought no lasting success, because it was im- 
possible for reenforcements to come up quickly enough in the 
face of the determined Turkish resistance strongly supported 
by machine-gun fire. According to the Turkish reports, the Brit- 
ish lost very heavily without being able to show any gain at 
the end of the day. The same condition obtained on the right 
bank of the Tigris. In spite of this failure the bombardment 
of the Sanna-i-Yat position was kept up by the British artillery 
throughout April 23, 1916. On the next day, April 24, 1916, 
the British troops again registered a small success by being 
able to extend their line at Beit Eissa, on the right Tigris bank — 
in the direction of the Umm-el-Brahm swamps. On the left 
bank, however, the line facing the Sanna-i-Yat position re- 
mained in its original location. 

All this time General Townshend was able to communicate 
freely by means of wireless with the relief forces. As the weeks 
rolled by it became evident that his position was becoming rap- 
idly untenable on account of the unavoidable decrease of all sup- 
plies. Having had his lines of communication cut off ever since 
December 3, 1915, it was now almost five months since he had 
been forced to support the lives of some 10,000 men from the 
meager supplies which they had with them at the time of their 
hurried retreat from Ctesiphon to Kut-el-Amara, which were 
only slightly increased by whatever stores had been found at 
the latter place. So complete was the circle which the Turks 
had thrown around Kut that not a pound of food had come 
through to the besieged garrison. It was well known that the 
latter had been forced for weeks to exist on horse flesh. Beyond 
that, however, few details concerning the life of the Anglo- 
Indian force during the siege were known at that time except 
that they had not been subjected to any attack on the part of 
the Turks. 

During the night of April 24, 1916, one more desperate effort 
was made to bring relief to General Townshend's force. A ship, 
carrying supplies, was sent up the Tigris. Although this under- 



318 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

taking was carried out most courageously in the face of the 
Turkish guns commanding the entire stretch of the Tigris be- 
tween Sanna-i-Yat and the Turkish Hnes below Kut-el-Amara, it 
miscarried, for the boat went aground near Magasis, about four 
miles below Kut-el-Amara. Another desperate effort to get at 
least some supplies to Kut by means of aeroplanes also failed. 
The British forces had only some comparatively antiquated 
machines, which quickly became the prey of the more modem 
equipment of the Turks. 



CHAPTER XL 

THE SURRENDER OF KUT-EL-AMARA 

BY the end of April it had become only a question of days, 
almost of hours, when it would be necessary for General 
Townshend to surrender. It was, therefore, no surprise when 
in the morning of April 29, 1916, a wireless report was received 
from him reading as follows : 

"Have destroyed my guns, and most of my munitions are be- 
ing destroyed ; and officers have gone to Khalil, who is at Madug, 
to say am ready to surrender. I must have some food here, 
and cannot hold on any more. IGialil has been told to-day, and 
a deputation of officers has gone on a launch to bring some food 
from Julnar." 

A few hours afterward another message, the last one to 
come through, reached the relief forces, announcing the actual 
surrender : 

"I have hoisted the white flag over Kut fort and towns, and 
the guards will be taken over by a Turkish regiment, which is 
approaching. I shall shortly destroy wireless. The troops at 2 
p. m. to camp near Shamran." 

It was on the hundred and forty-third day of the siege that 
General Townshend was forced by the final exhaustion of his 
supplies to hoist the white flag of surrender. According to th( 
official British statements this involved a force of "2970 Brit* 



SURRENDER OF KUT-EL-AMARA 319 

ish troops of all ranks and services and some 6,000 Indian 
troops and their followers/' 

About one o'clock in the afternoon of April 29, 1916, a pre- 
arranged signal from the wireless indicated that the wireless 
had been destroyed. It was then that the British emissaries 
were received by the Turkish commander in chief, Khalil Bey 
Pasha, in order to arrange the terms of surrender. According 
to these it was to be unconditional. But the Turks, who ex- 
pressed the greatest admiration for the bravery of the British, 
readily agreed to a number of arrangements in order to reduce 
as much as possible the suffering on the part of the captured 
British forces who by then were near to starvation. As the 
Turks themselves were not in a position to supply their cap- 
tives with sufficiently large quantities of food, it was arranged 
that such supplies should be sent up the Tigris from the base 
of the relief force. It was also arranged that wounded pris- 
ners should be exchanged and during the early part of May, 
1916, a total of almost 1,200 sick and wounded reached head- 
quarters of the Tigris Corps as quickly as the available ships 
could transport them. 

The civil population of Kut-el-Amara had not been driven 
out by General Townshend as had been surmised. This was un- 
doubtedly due to the fact that a few civilians who, driven by 
hunger, had attempted to escape, had been shot promptly by the 
Turks. Rather than jeopardize the lives of some 6,000 unfor- 
tunate Arabs, the English commander permitted them to remain 
and the same rations that went to the British troops were dis- 
tributed to the Arabs. This, of course, hastened the surrender, 
an eventuality on which the Turks undoubtedly had counted 
when they adopted such stringent measures against their own 
subjects who were caught in their attempt to flee from Kut. 
Although Khalil Pasha refused to give any pledge in regard to 
the treatment of these civilians, he stated to the British emis- 
saries that he contemplated no reprisals or persecutions in re- 
gard to the civilian population and that their future treatment 
at the hands of the Turkish troops would depend entirely on 
their future behavior. 

U— War St. 5 



320 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

With the least possible delay the Turks moved their prisoners 
from Kut-el-Amara to Bagdad and from there to Constantinople, 
from which place it was reported on June 11, 1916, that General 
Townshend had arrived and, after having been received with 
military honors, had been permitted to visit the United States 
ambassador who looked after British interests in Turkey during 
the war. An official Turkish statement announced ttiat to- 
gether with General Townshend four other generals had been 
captured as well as 551 other officers, of whom about one-half 
were Europeans and another half Indians. The same announce- 
ment also claimed that the British had destroyed most of their 
guns and other arms, but that in spite of this the Turks cap- 
tured about forty cannon, twenty machine guns, almost 5,000 
rifles, large amounts of ammunition, two ships, four automobiles, 
and three aeroplanes. 

It was only after the capitulation of General Townshend that 
details became available concerning the suffering to which the 
besieged army was subjected and the heroism with which all 
this was borne by officers and men, whites and Hindus alike. 
An especially clear picture of conditions existing in Kut-el-Amara 
during the siege may be gained from a letter sent to Bombay 
by a member of the Indian force and later published in various 
newspapers. It says in part: 

"Wounded and diseased British and native troops are arriving 
from Kut-el-Amara, having been exchanged for an equal number 
of Turkish prisoners. They bring accounts of Townshend's 
gallant defense of Mesopotamia's great strategic point. Some 
are mere youngsters while others were soldiers before the war. 

"All are frightfully emaciated and are veritable skeletons as 
the result of their starvation and sufferings. The absolute ex- 
haustion of food necessitated the capitulation, and if General 
Townshend had not surrendered nearly the whole force would 
have died of starvation within a week. 

"The Turkish General Khalil Pasha provided a river steamer 
for the unexchanged badly wounded, the others marching over- 
land. Because of the wasted condition of the prisoners the 
marches were limited to five miles a day. 



SURRENDER OF KUT-EL-AMARA 821 

"When the capitulation was signed only six mules were left 
alive to feed a garrison and civilian population of nearly 20,000 
persons. 

"In the early stages of the siege, the Arab traders sold stocks 
of jam, biscuits, and canned fish at exorbitant prices. The stores 
were soon exhausted and all were forced to depend upon the 
army commissariat. Later a dead officer's kit was sold at 
auction. Eighty dollars was paid for a box of twenty-five cigars 
and twenty dollars for fifty American cigarettes. 

"In February the ration was a pound of barley-meal bread 
and a pound and a quarter of mule or horse flesh. In March the 
ration was reduced to half a pound of bread and a pound of 
flesh. In April it was four ounces of bread and twelve ounces 
of flesh, which was the allowance operative at the time of the 
surrender. The food problem was made more difficult by the 
Indian troops, who because of their religion refused to eat flesh, 
fearing they would break the rules of their caste by doing so. 

"When ordinary supplies were diminished a sacrifice was de- 
manded of the British troops in order to feed the Indians, whose 
allowance of grain was increased while that of the British was 
decreased. Disease spread among the horses and hundreds 
were shot and buried. The diminished grain and horse feed 
supply necessitated the shooting of nearly 2,000 animals. The 
fattest horses and mules were retained as food for forty days. 

"Kut-el-Amara was searched as with a fine tooth comb and 
considerable stores of grain were discovered beneath houses. 
These were commandeered, the inhabitants previously self-sup- 
porting receiving the same ration as the soldiers and Sepoys. 
It was difficult to use the grain because of inability to grind it 
into flour, but millstones were finally dropped into the camp by 
aeroplanes. 

"In the first week in February scurvy appeared, and aero- 
planes dropped seeds, which General Townshend ordered planted 
on all the available ground, and the gardens bore sufficient fruit 
to supply a few patients in the hospital. 

"Mule and horse meat and sometimes a variety of donkey 
meat were boiled in the muddy Tigris water without salt or 



822 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 




SURRENDER OF KUT-EL-AMARA 323 

seasoning. The majority became used to horseflesh and their 
main complaint was that the horse gravy was like clear oil. 

"Stray cats furnished many a delicate 'wild rabbit' supper. 
A species of grass was cooked as a vegetable and it gave a relish 
to the horseflesh. Tea being exhausted, the soldiers boiled bits 
of ginger root in water. Latterly aeroplanes dropped some sup- 
plies. These consisted chiefly of com, flour, cocoa, sugar, tea, 
and cigarettes. 

"During the last week of the siege many Arabs made attempts 
to escape by swimming the river and going to the British lines, 
twenty miles below. Of nearly 100, only three or four succeeded 
in getting away. One penetrated the Turkish lines by floating 
in an inflated mule skin." 

Another intimate description was furnished by the official 
British press representative with the Tigris Corps and is based 
on the personal narratives of some of the British officers who, 
after having been in the Kut hospital for varying periods of the 
siege on account of sickness or wounds, were exchanged for 
wounded Turkish officers taken by the relief force. According 
to this the real privations of the garrison began in the middle of 
February and were especially felt in the hospital. 

"When the milk gave out the hospital diet was confined to 
corn, flour, or rice water for the sick, and ordinary rations for 
the wounded. On April 21, 1916, the 4 oz. grain rations gave 
out. From the 22d to the 25th the garrison subsisted on the 
two days' reserve rations issued in January ; and from the 25th 
to the 29th on supplies dropped by aeroplanes. 

"The troops were so exhausted when Kut capitulated that the 
regiments who were holding the front line had remained there 
a fortnight without being relieved. They were too weak to carry 
back their kit. During the last days of the siege the daily death 
rate averaged eight British and twenty-one Indians. 

"All the artillery, cavalry, and transport animals had been 
consumed before the garrison fell. When the artillery horses 
had gone the drivers of the field batteries formed a new unit 
styled 'Kut Foot.' One of the last mules to be slaughtered had 
been on three Indian frontier campaigns, and wore the ribbons 



324 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

round its neck. The supply and transport butcher had sent it 
back twice, refusing to kill it, but in the end it had to go with the 
machine-gun mules. Mule flesh was generally preferred to 
horse, and mule fat supplied good dripping; also an improvised 
substitute for lamp oil. 

"The tobacco famine was a great privation, but the garrison 
did not find the enforced abstention cured their craving, as every 
kind of substitute was there. An Arab brand, a species similar 
to that smoked in Indian hookahs, was exhausted early in April. 
After that lime leaves were smoked, or ginger, or baked tea dregs. 
In January English tobacco fetched forty-eight rupees a half 
pound (equal to eight shillings an ounce) . 

"Just before General Townshend*s force entered Kut a large 
consignment of warm clothing had arrived, the gift of the British 
Red Cross Society. This was most opportune and probably saved 
many lives. Tht garrison had only the summer kit they stood 
up in. 

"Different units saw very little of each other during the siege. 
At the beginning indirect machine-gun and rifle fire, in addition 
to shells, swept the whole area day and night. The troops only 
left the dugouts for important defense work. During the late 
phase when the fire slackened officers and men had little strength 
for unnecessary walking. Thus there was very little to break 
the monotony of the siege in the way of games, exercise, or 
amusements, but on the right bank two battalions in the licorice 
factory, the 110th Mahratas and the 120th Infantry, were better 
off, and there was dead ground here — 'a pitch of about fifty by 
twenty yards* — ^where they could play hockey and cricket with 
pick handles and a rag balL They also fished, and did so with 
success, supplementing the rations at the same time. Two com- 
panies of Norfolks joined them in turn, crossing by ferry at 
night, and they appreciated the relief." 

A personal acquaintance of the heroic defense of Kut-el-Amara 
drew in a letter to the London "Weekly Times" the following 
attractive picture of this strong personality: 

"A descendant of the famous Lord Townshend who fought with 
Wolfe at Quebec, and himself heir to the marquisate, General 



SURRENDER OF KUT-EL-AMARA 325 

Townshend set himself from boyhood to maintain the fighting 
traditions of his family. His military fighting has been one long 
record of active service in every part of the world. Engaged 
first in the Nile expedition of 1884-85, Townshend next took 
part in the fighting on the northwest frontier of India in 1891-92, 
when he leaped into fame as commander of the escort of the 
British agent during the siege of Chitral. He fought in the 
Sudan expedition of 1898, and served on the staff in the South 
African War. In the peaceful decade which followed Townshend 
acted for a time as military attache in Paris, was on the staff 
in India, and finally commanded the troops at Bloemfontein, 
Orange River Colony. 

"The outbreak of the Great War found him in command of a 
division in India, longing to be at the front in France, but des- 
tined, as events turned out, to win greater fame in Mesopotamia. 
All accounts agree as to the masterly strategy with which he 
defeated Nur-ed-Din Pasha at Kut-el-Amara, and subsequently 
fought the battle of Ctesiphon. Those two battles and his heroic 
endurance of the long siege of Kut have given his name a per- 
manent place in the annals of the British army. 

"TowTishend has always attributed his success as a soldier to 
his constant study of the campaigns of Napoleon, a practice 
which he has long followed for a regular period of every day 
wherever he has happened to be serving. He has mastered the 
Napoleonic battle fields at first hand, and is an ardent collector of 
Napoleonic literature and relics. Everyone who knows him is 
familiar with the sight of the paraphernalia of his studies in 
peace time — ^the textbooks and maps, spread on the ground or 
on an enormous table, to which he devotes his morning hours. 
During the present campaign his letters have been full of com- 
parisons with the difficulties which confronted Napoleon. 

"But Townshend possesses other qualities besides his zeal for 
his profession, and one of them at least must have stood him in 
good stead during these anxious months. He is indomitably 
serene and cheerful, a lover of amusement himself and well able 
to amuse others. In London and Paris he is nearly as well 
known in the world of playwtights and actors as in the world 



326 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

of soldiers. He can sing a good song and tell a good story. 
Like Baden-Powell, the hero of another famous siege, he 
is certain to have kept his gallant troops alert and interested 
during the long period of waiting for the relief which never came. 
Up to the last his messages to the outside world have been full of 
cheery optimism and soldierly fortitude. No general was ever 
less to blame for a disastrous enterprise or better entitled to the 
rewards of success." 



CHAPTER XLI 



SPRING AND SUMMER TRENCH WAR ON 
THE TIGRIS 

A FTER the surrender of Kut-el-Amara a lull of a few weeks 
-^^ occurred. The Turkish forces seemed to be satisfied for the 
time being with their victory over their English opponents for 
which they had striven so long. The English forces below Kut- 
el-Amara likewise seemed to have ceased their activities as soon 
as the fall of Kut had become an establi^ed fact. 

Almost for three weeks this inactivity was maintained. 
On May 19, 1916, however, both sides resumed military opera- 
tions. The Turks on that day vacated an advanced position on 
the south bank of the Tigris at Beit Eissa, which formed the 
southern prolongation of the Sanna-i-Yat position. On the north 
bank the latter was still held strongly by the Sultan's forces. 

Immediately following this move the English troops, who 
under General Sir Gorringe had attempted the relief of Kut-el- 
Amara, attacked. Advancing about three miles south of the 
Tigris and south of the Umm-el-Brahm marshes, they threw 
themselves against the southern end of the Turkish position at 
Es-Sinn. The latter is about seven miles west of the former and 
about the same distance east of Kut-el-Amara. It began on the 
north bank of the Tigris, a few miles north of the Suwatcha 
marshes, continued between these and the Tigris and for almost 
five miles in a southeasterly direction. On its southern end the 



TRENCH WAR ON THE TIGRIS 327 

Turks had erected a strong redoubt, known under the name 
Dujailar Redoubt, from which a strong line of six lesser redoubts 
run in a southwesterly direction to the Shatt-al-hai. This body 
of water is the ancient bed of the Tigris. In the first half of the 
year it is a navigable stream, carrying the waters of the Tigris 
across the desert to the Euphrates near Nasiriyeh, a town which 
British forces have held since the spring of 1915. It was against 
the key of this very strong line of defense, the Dujailar Redoubt, 
which General Gorringe's battalions attacked. At various other 
times before English troops had attempted to carry this point, 
but had never succeeded. This time, however, they did meet with 
success. In spite of strong resistance they stormed and carried 
the position. 

On the same day, May 19, 1916, it was officially announced 
that a force of Russian cavalry had joined General Gorringe's 
troops. This cavalry detachment, of course, was part of the 
Russian forces operating in the region of Kermanshah in Persia. 
Inasmuch as these troops were then all of 200 miles from Kut- 
el-Amara and had to pass through a rough and mountainous 
country, entirely lacking in roads and inhabited by hostile and 
extremely ferocious Kurdish hillmen, the successful dash of this 
cavalry detachment was little short of marvelous. The difficul- 
ties which had to be faced and the valor which was exhibited is 
interestingly described by the official British press representa- 
tive with the Mesopotamian forces : 

"The Cossacks' ride across country was a fine and daring 
achievement, an extreme test of our Allies' hardness, mobility, 
and resource. Their route took them across a mountainous ter- 
ritory which has been a familiar landmark in the plains where 
we have been fighting for the last few months. 

"The country traversed was rough and precipitous and the 
track often difficult for mules. They crossed passes over 8,000 
feet high. Enemy forces were likely to be encountered at any 
moment, as these hills are infested with warlike tribes, whose 
attitude at the best might be described as decidedly doubtful. 

"Their guide was untrustworthy. He roused their suspicions 
by constant attempts to mislead them, and eventually he had to 



828 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

point the way with a rope round his neck. Nevertheless, they 
met with no actual opposition during the whole journey other 
than a few stray shots at long range. 

"They traveled light. For transport they had less than one 
pack animal for ten men. These carried ammunition, cooking 
pots, and a tent for officers. Otherwise, beyond a few simple 
necessaries, they had no other kit than what they stood up in, 
and they lived on the country, purchasing barley, flour, rice, and 
sheep from the villagers. Fodder and fuel were always obtain- 
able. 

"For ambulance they had only one assistant surgeon, provided 
with medical wallets, but none of these Cossacks fell sick. They 
are a hard lot. 

"Their last march was one of thirty miles, during which five 
of their horses died of thirst or exhaustion on the parched desert, 
and they reached camp after nightfall. Yet, after a dinner 
which was given in their honor, they were singing and dancing 
all night and did not turn in till one in the morning. 

"The ride of the Cossacks establishing direct contact between 
the Russian force in Persia and the British force on the Tigris, 
of course, has inipressed the tribesmen on both sides of the 
frontier." 

On the next day the Turks withdrew all their forces who, on 
the south bank of the Tigris, had held the Es-Sinn position. Only 
at a bridge across the Shatt-al-Hai, about five miles below its 
junction with the Tigris, they left some rear guards. On the 
north bank of the Tigris they continued to hold, not only the Es- 
Sinn position, but also the Sanna-i-Yat position, some eight miles 
farther down the river. This meant that General Gorringe not 
only had carried an important position, but also that he had ad- 
vanced the British lines on the south bank of the Tigris by about 
ten miles, for on May 20, 1916, the British positions were estab- 
lished along a line running from the village of Magasis, on the 
south bank of the Tigris, about five miles east of Kut-el-Amara, 
to a point on the Shatt-al-Hai, about equally distant from Kut. 

The withdrawal of the Turkish forces on the south bank of the 
Tigris naturally left their positions on the north bank very much 



I 



TRENCH WAR ON THE TIGRIS 329 

exposed to British attacks. It was, therefore, not at all surpris- 
ing that English artillery subjected the Turks on the north bank 
to heavy bombardments during the following days, nor that 
this fire was extremely effective. However, in spite of this fact, 
the Turks continued to maintain their positions on the north 
bank of the Tigris. 

Throughout the balance of May, June, and July, 1916, nothing 
of importance occurred in Mesopotamia. The temperature in 
that part of Asia during the early summer rises to such an 
extent that military operations become practically impossible. 
It is true that from time to time unimportant skirmishes between 
outposts and occasional artillery duels of very limited extent 
took place. But they had no influence on the general situation 
or on the location of the respective positions. 

During the early part of the month the British trenches on 
the north bank of the Tigris were pushed forward a short dis- 
tance, until they were within 200 yards of the Turkish position, 
Sanna-i-Yat, where they remained for the balance of midsum- 
mer. To the south of Magasis, on the south bank of the river, 
British troops occupied an advanced position about three and 
one-half miles south of the main position. Then they stopped 
there too. About the same time, June 10, 1916, Turkish guns 
sunk three barges on the Tigris, the only actual success which 
the Sultan's forces won since the fall of Kut-el-Amara. 

Along the Euphrates, where British troops had held certain 
positions ever since 1915, there was also an almost entire lack 
of activity, except that occasional small and entirely local puni- 
tive expeditions became necessary in order to hold in hand the 
Arab tribes of the neighborhood. 

Climatic conditions continued extremely trying, and enforced 
further desistance from military activity until, toward the end of 
July, relief in the form of the shjamal (northwest wind) would 
come and once more make it possible to resume operations. 



330 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

CHAPTER XLII 

RUSSIAN ADVANCE TOWARD BAGDAD 

COINCIDENT with the Russian advance in Armenia and the 
English attempt at capturing the city of Bagdad by ad- 
vancing up the Tigris, the Russian General Staff also directed 
a strong attack against this ancient Arabian city from the 
northeast through Persia. 

Before the Mesopotamian plain, in which Bagdad is situated, 
could be reached from Persia the mountains along the Persian- 
Turkish frontier had to be crossed, an undertaking full of diffi- 
culties. 

Just as in Armenia, here completed railroads were lacking 
entirely. Such roads as were available were for the most part 
in the poorest possible condition. The mountains themselves 
could be crossed only at a few points through passes located 
at great height, where the caravans that had traveled for cen- 
turies and centuries between Persia and Mesopotamia had 
blasted a trail. At only one point to the north of Bagdad 
was there a break in the chain of mountains that separated Per- 
sia from Mesopotamia. That was about one hundred miles 
northeast of Bagdad in the direction of the Persian city of 
Kermanshah. There one Russian army was advancing un- 
doubtedly with the twofold object of reaching and capturing 
Bagdad and of submitting the Turkish army operating in that 
sector to an attack from this source as well as from the British 
army advancing along the Tigris. A Russian success at this 
point would have meant practically either the capture of all the 
Turkish forces or their ultimate destruction. For the only ave- 
nue of escape that would have been left to them would have been 
across the desert into Syria. And although there were a num- 
ber of caravan routes available for this purpose, it would have 
been reasonably sure that most of the Turkish forces attempting 
such a retreat would have been lost. For a modem army of the 
size operating around Bagdad could not have been safely brought 



RUSSIAN ADVANCE TOWARD BAGDAD 331 

across the desert with all the supplies and ammunition indispen- 
sable for its continued existence. 

In order to prevent the escape of these Turkish forces in a 
northerly direction along the Tigris and the line of the projected 
but uncompleted part of the Bagdad railroad, the Russians had 
launched another attack from the north. This second army ad- 
vanced to the south of the region around Lake Urumiah, a large 
body of water less than fifty miles east of the Turko-Persian 
border. This attack was directed against another important 
Arabian city, Mosul. This town, too, was located on the Tigris, 
and on the line of the Bagdad railroad, about 200 miles north- 
west of Bagdad. 

Still another Russian attack was developed by a third army, 
advancing about halfway between the other two army groups 
and striking at Mesopotamia from Persia slightly north of the 
most easterly point of the Turkish frontier. 

Broadly speaking the Russian attack through Persia covered a 
front of about 200 miles. It must not be understood, however, 
that this was a continuous "front" of the same nature as the front 
in the western and eastern theaters of war in Europe. The unde- 
veloped condition of the country made the establishment of a con- 
tinuous front not only impossible, but unnecessary. Each of the 
three Russian groups were working practically independent of 
each other, except that their operations were planned and exe- 
cuted in such a way that their respective objectives were to be 
reached simultaneously. Even that much cooperation was made 
extremely difficult, because of the lack of any means of communi- 
cation in a horizontal direction. No roads worthy of that name, 
parallel to the Turko-Persian frontier, existed. Telegraph or tele- 
phone lines, of course, were entirely lacking, except such as were 
established by the advancing armies. How great the difficulties 
were which confronted both the attacking and the defending 
armies in this primitive country can, therefore, readily be under- 
stood. They were still more increased by the climatic conditions 
which prevail during the winter and early spring. If fighting in 
the comparatively highly developed regions of the Austro-Italian 
mountains was fraught with problems that at times seemed al- 



332 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

most impossible of solution, what then must it have been in the 
more or less uncivilized and almost absolutely undeveloped dis- 
tricts of Persian "Alps !" The difficulties that were overcome, the 
suffering which was the share of both Russians and Turks make 
a story the full details of which will not be told — if ever told 
at all — for a long time to come. No daily communique, no vivid 
description from the pen of famous war correspondents ac- 
quaints us of the details of the heroic struggle that for months 
and months progressed in these distant regions of the "near 
East." Not even "letters from the front" guide us to any ex- 
tent. For where conditions are such that even the transport of 
supplies and ammunition becomes a problem that requires con- 
stantly ingenuity of the highest degree, the transmission of mail 
becomes a matter which can receive consideration only very oc- 
casionally. Whatever will be known for a long time to come 
about this campaign is restricted to infrequent official state- 
ments made by the Russian and Turkish General Staffs, an- 
nouncing the taking of an important town on the crossing of a 
mountain pass, up to then practically unknown to the greatest 
part of the civilized world. 

It was such a statement from the Russian General Staff, that 
had announced the fall of Kermanshah on February 27, 1916, 
This was an important victory for the southernmost Russian 
army. For this ancient Persian town lies on the main caravan 
route from Mesopotamia to Teheran, passing over the high 
Zaros range, as well as on other roads, leading to Tabriz in the 
north and to Kut-el-Amara and Basra in the south. It brought 
this Russian army within less than 200 miles of Bagdad. To- 
ward this goal the advance now was pushed steadily, and on 
March 1, 1916, Petrograd announced that the pursuit of the 
enemy to the west of Kermanshah continued and had yielded the 
capture of two more guns. The next important success gained by 
the Russians was announced on March 12, 1916, when the town of 
Kerind was occupied. This town, too, is located on the road to 
Bagdad and its occupation represented a Russian advance of 
about fifty miles in less than two weeks, no mean accomplish- 
ment in the face of a fairly determined resistance. 



RUSSIAN ADVANCE TOWARD BAGDAD 



333 




THE RUSSIANS IN PERSIA 



334 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

On March 22, 1916, it was officially announced that a Russian 
column, advancing from Teheran, to the south, had reached and 
occupied Ispaha, the ancient Persian capital in central Persia, 
This, of course, had no direct bearing on the Russian advance 
against Mosul and Bagdad, except that it increased Russian in- 
fluence in Persia and by that much strengthened the position 
and security of any Russian troops operating anywhere else 
in that country. 

Fighting between the northernmost Russian army and detach- 
ments of Turks and Kurds was reported on March 24, 1916, 
in the region south of Lake Urumiah. Throughout the balance 
of March, 1916, and during April, 1916, similar engagements 
took place continuously in this sector. On the Turkish side both 
regular infantry and detachments of Kurds opposed the Russian 
advance in the direction of Mosul and the Tigris. Russian suc- 
cesses were announced officially on April 10 and 12, 1916, and 
again on May 3, 1916. 

In the meantime the advance toward Bagdad also progressed. 
On May 1, 1916, the Russians captured some Turkish guns and a 
number of ammunition wagons to the west of Kerind. On May 
6, 1916, a Turkish fortified position in the same locality was 
taken by storm and a considerable quantity of supplies were 
captured. 

Up to this time the Russian reports were more or less in- 
definite, announcing simply from time to time progress of the ad- 
vance in the direction of Bagdad. From Kerind, captured early 
in March, 1916, two roads lead into Mesopotamia, one by way 
of Mendeli, and another more circuitous, but more frequented 
and, therefore, in better condition, by way of Khanikin. Not 
until May 10, 1916, did it become apparent that the Russians had 
chosen the latter. On that day they announced the occupation of 
the town of Kasr-i-Shirin, about twenty miles from the Turkish 
border, between Kerind and Khanikin. Not only were the Rus- 
sian forces now within 110 miles of Bagdad — an advance of 
forty-five miles since the capture of Kerind — ^but they were also 
getting gradually out of the mountains into the Mesopotamian 
plain. At Kasr-i-Shirin, they took important Turkish munition 



OFFENSIVE IN ARMENIA AND PERSIA 335 

reserves, comprising several hundred thousand cartridges, many 
shells and hand grenades, telegraph material, and a camel supply 
convoy laden with biscuits, rice, and sugar. 

Five days later, on May 15, 1916, another important Russian 
success was announced, this time further north. The Russian 
forces that had been fighting for a long time ever since the early 
part of 1915 to the south of Lake Urumiah, and whose progress 
in the direction of Mosul was reported at long intervals, were 
now reported to have reached the Turkish town of Rowandiz. 
This represented an advance of over 100 miles from the town 
of Urumiah and carried the Russian troops some twenty-five 
miles across the frontier into the Turkish province of Mosul. 
Rowandiz is about 100 miles east of Mosul, and in order to reach 
it it was necessary for the Russian forces to cross the formidable 
range of mountains that runs along the Turko-Persian border 
and reaches practically its entire length, a height of 8,000 to 
10,000 feet. 



CHAPTER XLIII 

TURKISH OFFENSIVE AND RUSSIAN COUNTER- 
OFFENSIVE IN ARMENIA AND PERSIA 

ON the last day of May, 1916, the Turks scored their first sub- 
stantial success against the Russians since the fall of Erzerum. 
Having received reenforcements, the Turkish center assumed the 
offensive between the Armenian Taurus and Baiburt and forced 
the Russians to evacuate Mama Khatun. This was followed by 
a withdrawal of the Russian lines in that region for a distance 
of about ten miles. 

For the next few days the Turks were able to maintain their 
new offensive in full strength. The center of the Russian right 
wing was forced back continuously until it had reached a line 
almost twenty-five miles east of its former positions. 

In the south, too, the Turkish forces scored some successes 
against the Russian troops, who had been pushing toward the 

. V— WarSt.& 



336 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Tigris Valley from the mountains along the Persian border. On 
June 8, 1916, Turkish detachments even succeeded in crossing 
the border and occupied Kasr-i-Shirin, just across the frontier in 
Persia. By June 10, 1916, these troops had advanced sixteen 
miles farther east and fought slight engagements with Russian 
cavalry near the villages of Serpul and Zehab. 

In the north the Turkish advance continued likewise. An 
important engagement between Turkish troops and a strong Rus- 
sian cavalry force occurred on June 12, 1916, east of the village 
of Amachien and terminated in favor of the Turks. 

Fighting continued throughout the balance of June, 1916, all 
along the Turko-Russian front from Trebizond down to the Per- 
sian border northeast of Bagdad. At some points the Russians 
assumed the offensive, but were unable to make any impression 
on the Turks, who continued to push back the invader and, by 
quickly fortifying their newly gained positions, succeeded in 
maintaining them against all counterattacks. 

By June 30, 1916, Kermanshah in Persia, about 100 miles 
across the border, was seriously threatened. On that day Rus- 
sian forces, which retreated east of Serai, could not maintain 
their positions near Kerind, owing to vigorous pursuit. Russian 
rear guards west of Kerind were driven off. Turkish troops pass- 
ing through Kerind pursued the Russians in the direction of 
Kermanshah. 

On July 5, 1916, Kermanshah was occupied by the Turkish 
troops after a battle west of the town which lasted all day and 
night. The first attempt of the Russians to prevent the capture 
of the city was made at Mahidesst, west of Kermanshah. Here the 
Russians had hastily constructed fortifications, but the Turks, by 
a swift encircling move, made their position untenable and forced 
them to retreat farther east. A strong Russian rear guard de- 
fended the village for one day and then followed the main body 
to a series of previously prepared positions just west of the city. 
Here a terrific battle lasting all day and all night was waged, and 
resulted in the retreat of the Russians to Kermanshah. Three 
detachments of Turks, almost at the heels of the Muscovites, 
drove them out before they could make another stand. 



OFFENSIVE IN ARMENIA AND PERSIA 337 

On July 9, 1916, Turkish reconnoitering forces came in contact 
with the Russians who were ejected from Kermanshah at a point 
fifteen miles east of the city, while they were on their way to 
join their main forces. After a fight of seven hours the Rus- 
sians were compelled to flee to Sineh. 

By this time, however, the Russians had recovered their breath 
in the Caucasus. On July 12, 1916, they recaptured by assault 
the town of Mama Khatun. The next day, after a violent night 
battle, they occupied a series of heights southeast of Mama 
Khatun. The Turks attempted to take the offensive, but were 
thrown back. Pressing closely upon them, the Russians took the 
villages of Djetjeti and Almali. 

The Russian offensive quickly assumed great strength. By 
July 14, 1916, the Russians were only ten miles from Baiburt, 
had again taken up their drive for Erzingan and had wrested 
from the Turks some strongly fortified positions southwest of 
Mush. 

Baiburt fell to the Russians on July 15, 1916. From then on 
the Russian advance continued steadily, although the Turks main- 
tained a stiff resistance. 

On July 18, 1916, the Russians occupied the town of Kugi, 
an important junction of roads from Erzerum, Lhaputi and 
Khzindjtna. On July 20, 1916, the Grand Duke's troops captured 
the town of Gumuskhaneh, forty-five miles southwest of Trebi- 
zond. 

The next day, July 21, 1916, these forces had advanced to and 
occupied Ardas, about thirteen miles northwest of Gumus- 
khaneh. The West Euphrates was crossed the following day. 
On July 23, 1916, Russian troops on the Erzingan route, in the 
Ziaret Tapasi district, repulsed two Turkish counterattacks and 
occupied the heights of Naglika. 

East of the Erzingan route they captured a Turkish line on 
the Durum Darasi River. After having repulsed several Turkish 
attacks Russian cavalry has reached the line of Boz-Tapa- 
Mertekli. 

Closer and closer the Russians approached to the goal for 
which they had striven for many months, Erzingan. On July 25, 



838 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 




OFFENSIVE IN ARMENIA AND PERSIA 339 

1916, this strongly fortified Turkish city in Central Armenia, 
fell into the hands of the Russian Caucasus army under Grand 
Duke Nicholas. 

Erzingan, situated at an altitude of 3,900 feet, about one mile 
from the right bank of the Euphrates, manufactures silk and 
cotton and lies in a highly productive plain, which automatically 
comes into possession of the Russians. Wheat, fruit, wines, and 
cotton are grown in large quantities, and there are also iron 
and hot sulphur springs. With its barracks and military fac- 
tories, the city formed an important army base. 

Erzingan has frequently figured in ancient history. It was 
here that the Sultan of Rum was defeated by the Mongols in 
1243, and in the fourth century St. Gregory, "the Illuminator," 
lived in the city. Erzingan was added to the Osman Empire in 
1473 by Mohammed II, after it had been held by Mongols, Tar- 
tars, and Turkomans. 

With the capture of Erzingan the Russians not only removed 
the strongest obstacle on the road to Sivas, Angora, and Con- 
stantinople, but also virtually completed their occupation of 
Turkish Armenia. 

Throughout the Russian advance, considerable fighting had 
occurred in the region of Mush, which, however, resulted in no 
important changes. The main object of the Russian attacks there 
was to hold as large a Turkish force as possible from any possi- 
ble attempt to relieve the pressure on Erzingan. 

In the south, near the Persian border at Roanduz, and in 
Persia, near Kermanshah, there were no important developments 
after the fall of Kermanshah. Considerable fighting, however, 
went on in both of these sectors without changing in any way the 
general situation. 



PART VIII— OPERATIONS ON THE 
WESTERN FRONT 



CHAPTER XLIV 

RENEWAL OF THE BATTLE OF VERDUN 

IN another part of this work we have followed the intense 
struggle that marked the German assault that began on 
February 21, 1916, and continued without cessation for four 
days and nights. Despite the tremendous force employed by the 
Germans and the destruction wrought by their guns, the French 
by incessant counterattacks had held back their opponents and, 
by depriving them of the advantage of surprise, had undoubtedly 
saved Verdun for the Allies. Though losing heavily in men and 
material, they held the Bras-Douaumont front until they could 
be relieved by fresh forces. The German advance was stayed 
on the night of the 24th. 

In the morning of February 25, 1916, the Germans succeeded 
in penetrating Louvemont, now reduced to ruins by fire and shell. 
Douaumont village to the right seemed in imminent danger of 
being captured by the Germans, who were closing in on the place. 
But the French infantry attacking toward the north, and the 
vigorous action of the Zouaves east of Haudromont Farm, cleared 
the surroundings of the enemy. At the close of the day they 
occupied the village and a ridge to the east. Though they were 
in such position as to half encircle the fort, yet a body of Branden- 
burgers succeeded by surprise in forcing their way into its walls, 
from which subsequent French attacks failed to dislodge them. 

East and west of Douaumont the Germans made incessant 
efforts to break through the new French front, but only suc- 

340 



RENEWAL OF THE BATTLE OF VERDUN 341 

ceeded in gaining a foothold in Hardaumont work. Douaumont 
village was attacked with fresh forces and abundant material on 
the morning of the 27th. The struggle here was marked by 
hand-to-hand fighting and bayonet charges in which the Germans 
were clearly at a disadvantage. They won a French redoubt on 
the west side of Douaumont Fort, but after an intense struggle 
were forced out and retreated, leaving heaps of dead on the 
ground. 

Douaumont became again the center of German attack, and 
though driven off with terrible losses, they brought up fresh 
troops and renewed the fray. Advances were pushed with reck- 
less bravery, but in vain, for their forces were shattered before 
they could reach the French positions. Their losses in men must 
have been enormous, and for two days no further attacks were 
made. The French knew that they had not accepted defeat and 
were only reorganizing their forces for a fresh onslaught. On 
March 2, 1916, the Germans renewed the bombardment, smoth- 
ering the village under an avalanche of shells. Believing that 
this time the way was clear to advance, they rushed for- 
ward in almost solid ranks. French machine-gun and rifle 
fire cut great gaps in the advancing waves, but this time the 
brave defenders could not hold them back, and Douaumont was 
penetrated. 

The Germans occupied the place, but they were not permitted 
to leave it, for the French infantry were posted only a hundred 
yards away and every exit was under their fire. 

On the day following, the 3d, the French, after bombarding 
the ruins of Douaumont and working havoc in the ranks of the 
enemy, rushed two battalions during the night against the Ger- 
man barricades, and after a stubborn fight occupied the place. 
But their victory was short lived. Before dawn the Germans, 
attacking with large reenforcements, after four or five hours of 
intense and murderous struggle, again occupied the village. The 
French, somewhat shattered in numbers but by no means dis- 
couraged, fell back some two hundred yards to the rear, where 
they proceeded to reestablish their line and there await their 
opportunity to strike again. 



842 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Some idea of the great courage and devotion displayed by the 
French troops during the intense struggle around Douaumont 
village may be gained from the statement made by an infantry 
officer which appeared in the Army Bulletin, and from which 
some quotations may be made. 

The Germans on March 2, 1916, at 3.15 a. m. had attacked the 
village simultaneously from the north by a ravine and on the 
flank, where they debouched from the fort, and certain covered 
positions which the French had not had time to reconnoiter. 

'The Germans we saw first were "those who came from the 
fort. They were wearing French helmets, and for a moment 

our men seemed uncertain as to their identity. Major C 

called out: 'Don't fire! They are French.' The words were 
hardly out of his mouth before he fell with a bullet in his neck. 
This German trick made us furious, and the adjutant cried : 'Fire 
for all you're worth ! They are Germans !' But the enemy con^ 
tinued his encircling movement with a view to taking the village 

"The battalion which was charged with its defense had lost 
very heavily in the bombardment, and most of its machine guns 
were out of action, but they were resolved to make any sacrifice 
to fulfill their trust. When their left was very seriously threat- 
ened, the Tenth Company made a glorious charge straight into 
the thick of the oncoming German masses. The hand-to-hand 
struggle was of the fiercest description, and French bayonets 
wrought deadly havoc among the German ranks. This company 
went on fighting until it was at length completely submerged in 
the flood, and the last we saw of it was a handful of desperate 
heroes seeking death in the heart of the struggle." 

An attempt at this time was made by the Germans to debouch 
from Douaumont village on the southwestern side, with the 
evident purpose of forcing their way to the top of the crest in 
the direction of Thiaumont Farm. 

'The commander of the Third Company," to continue the 
French officer's narrative, "immediately made his dispositions 
to arrest their progress. A machine gun was cleverly placed and 
got to work. In a short time the hundred or so of Germans that 
had got through were so vigorously peppered that only about 



RENEWAL OF STRUGGLE AT VERDUN 



343 




O lO 20 30 4K> 50 75 

HEAVY BLACK LINE &HOW6 
BATTLE FRONT AU6U&T I 5. 19 16 



WESTERN BATTLE FRONT, AUGUST, 1916 



344 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

twenty of them got back. This gun was in action until nightfall, 
dealing with successive German parties that attempted to ad- 
vance from the western and southwestern sides of the village.** 

After describing how the French built barricades during the 
night and adjusted their front in such a way as to present a 
solid wall facing the east, the narrator continues : 

"Our counterattack took place at nightfall on March 3, and 
was undertaken by two battalions (the Four Hundred and Tenth 
and the Four Hundred and Fourteenth) of consecutive regiments. 
After an intense rifle fire we heard the cry of 'Forward with the 
bayonet!* and night rang with the shouts of the men. Our first 
line was carried beyond the village. 

"The Germans returned to the attack about 8 o'clock, but were 
stopped dead by our rifle and machine-gun fire. Two hours later 
another attack was attempted, but was likewise dashed to pieces 
before our unshaken resistance. The Germans came on in very 
close formation, and on the following morning we counted quite 
eight hundred dead before the trench. 

"At daybreak on March 4 the Germans launched a fresh 
counterattack against Douaumont after an intense bombardment 
accompanied by the use of aerial torpedoes. No detailed descrip- 
tion is possible of the terrible fighting from house to house, or 
the countless deeds of heroism performed by our men in this 
bloody struggle, which lasted for two hours. The gaps in our 
ranks increased from moment to moment. Finally we were 
ordered to retire to a position about 200 meters south of the 
exit from Douaumont. The enemy tried in vain to dislodge us 
and exploit the success he had so dearly won.** 

On March 4, 1916, an Order of the Day issued by the crown 
prince was read to the troops in rest billets in which they were 
urged to make a supreme effort to conquer Verdun, "the heart 
of France.** For four days following the German command was 
busy organizing for an onslaught on a gigantic scale, which they 
hoped would so crush the French army as to eliminate it as a 
serious factor in the war. 

In order to clear the way for this great attack the German 
General Staff decided that it would be necessary first to capture 



RENEWAL OF THE BATTLE OF VERDUN 345 

the French positions of Mort Homme and Cumieres on the left 
bank of the Meuse. 

At this time the French line to the west of the Meuse ran by 
the village of Forges, the hills above Bethincourt and Malan- 
court, crossed Malancourt Wood and passed in front of Avo- 
court. The Germans held positions on the heights of Samogneux 
and Champneuville, and their operations were threatened by 
the French artillery in the line west of the river. 

On March 6, 1916, the Germans began to bombard the French 
positions from the Meuse to Bethincourt. They pursued their 
usual methods, smashing a selected sector, demolishing advance 
works, and keeping a curtain fire over roads and trenches. The 
village of Forges during the first half of the day of attack was 
literally covered with shells. Crossing the Forges Brook, which 
ran through a ravine, and where they were protected from 
French artillery fire, the Germans advanced along the northern 
slopes of the Cote de TOie. Following the railway line through 
Regneville, at all times under heavy fire from French guns, 
they attacked Hill 265 on the 7th. An entire division was 
employed by the Germans in this assault, and the French, over- 
whelmed by weight of men and metal, were forced out of the 
position. 

In the morning of March 7, 1916, the Germans began a furious 
bombardment of Corbeaux Wood. At first the French enjoyed 
every advantage, for though the Germans had penetrated the 
position, the French by a dashing attack occupied almost the 
whole of the wood. A mass attack made by the Germans against 
Bethincourt having failed, they counterattacked at Corbeaux 
Wood, during which their force was almost annihilated. By 
evening of March 8, 1916, the French had recovered all the wood 
but a small corner. 

The Germans were persistent in their attempts to gain the 
wood, despite many failures and heavy losses. On the 10th, after 
being reenforced, they threw three regiments against the wood. 
The French defense was broken when they lost their colonel and 
battalion commanders during the opening bombardment. The 
brave defenders, badly hit, were forced to yield ground and 



846 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 




t Jy JOB 






RENEWAL OF THE BATTLE OF VERDUN 347 

retire, but they held the enemy in the wood, thus preventing 
him from advancing on Mort Homme, the next objective. 

This is a double hill, having a summit of 265 meters at the 
northwest and the main summit of 295 meters at the southeast. 
The road from Bethincourt to Cumieres scales Hill 265 and 
divides it in two. When it reaches Hill 295 it encircles it and 
bends toward the northeast. 

After a lull that lasted for four days the Germans at half past 
10 in the morning began a terrific bombardment to capture 
Bethincourt, the Mort Homme, and Cumieres. In this they em- 
ployed a great number of heavy guns, and all the points of 
attack and the region around was flooded with shells of every 
variety. They were said to have fallen at' the rate of one 
hundred and twenty a minute. 

In the afternoon about 3 o'clock the German infantry attacked. 
They succeeded in capturing the first French line, where many 
soldiers had fallen half asphyxiated by the gas shells, or were 
buried under the debris. Hill 265 was occupied, but the highest 
summit, owing to the valor of its defenders, remained in French 
hands. During the night the French succeeded in stemming the 
German advance by executing a brilliant counterattack which 
carried them to the slope between Hill 295 and Bethincourt, 
where they came in touch with the enemy. 

The French at once proceeded by daring efforts to improve 
their positions, and were so successful that when during the 
16th and 18th the Germans after prolonged bombardments 
resumed their attack on Hill 295 they were repulsed with 
appalling losses. 

Having failed to capture Mort Homme from the front, the 
Germans now attempted to outflank it. They enlarged the 
attacking front in the sector of Malancourt and tried to take 
Hill 304. In order to do this it was necessary for them to 
take the southeastern point of the Avocourt Wood which was 
held by the French. On March 20, 1916, the crown prince threw 
a fresh division against these woods, the Eleventh Bavarian, 
belonging to a selected corps that had seen service in the Galician 
and Polish campaigns with Mackensen's army. This division 



348 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

launched a number of violent attacks, making use of flame 
throwers. They succeeded in capturing Avocourt Wood, but in 
the advance on Hill 304 they were caught between two converg- 
ing fires and suffered the most appalling losses. According to the 
figures given by a neutral military critic, Colonel Feyler, between 
March 20 and 22, 1916, the three regiments of this division 
lost between 50 and 60 per cent of their number. 

This decisive result had the effect of stopping for the time at 
least any further attacks by the Germans in this sector. A period 
of calm ensued, which they employed in bringing up fresh troops 
and in reconstituting their units. Their costly sacrifices in men 
and material had brought them little gain. They had advanced 
their line to Bethincourt and Cumieres, but the objective they 
had been so eager to capture, Mort Homme, was in French pos- 
session, and so strongly held that it could only be captured at 
an exceedingly heavy price. 



CHAPTER XLV 



THE STRUGGLE FOR VAUX FORT AND VIL- 
LAGE — BATTLE OF MORT HOMME 

ON the right bank of the Meuse the Germans on March 8, 1916, 
resumed their offensive against the French lines to the east 
of Douaumont Fort. The advance was rapidly carried out, and 
they succeeded in penetrating Vaux village. A little later by a 
dashing bayonet charge the French drove them out of the greater 
part of the place except one comer, where they held on deter- 
minedly despite the furious attacks that were launched against 
them all day long. Vaux Fort had not been included in this 
action, or indeed touched, yet a German communique of March 
9, 1916, announced that "the Posen Reserve Regiments com- 
manded by the infantry general Von Gearetzki-Kornitz had 
taken the armored fortress of Vaux by assault, as well as many 
other fortifications near by." 



BATTLE OF MORT HOMME 349 

At the very hour, 2 p. m., that this telegram appeared an 
officer of the French General Staff entered the fort and dis- 
covered that it had not been attacked at all, and that the garri- 
son were on duty and quite undisturbed by the bombardment 
storming about the walls. 

During the following days the Germans attempted to make 
good the false report of their capture of the fort by launching 
a series of close attacks. The slopes leading to the fort were 
piled with German dead. According to what German prisoners 
said, these attacks were among the costliest they had engaged 
in during the entire campaign. It was necessary for them to 
bring up fresh troops to reconstitute their shattered units. 

At daybreak on March 11, 1916, the Germans renewed their 
attack on Vaux village with desperate energy. The French had 
had time to fortify the place in the most ingenious manner. The 
defense was so admirably organized that it merits detailed de- 
scription, if only to illustrate that the French are not inferior to 
the Germans in ''thoroughness*' in military matters. 

The French trenches ran from the end of the main street of 
the village to the church. Barricades had been constructed at 
the foot of Hardaumont Hill at intervals of about a hundred 
yards. Around the ruined walls of the houses barbed wire 
was strongly wound and the street was mined in a number 
of places. The houses on the two flanks were heavily fortified 
with sandbags, while numerous machine guns with steel shields 
were set up in positions where they could command all the 
approaches. Batteries of mountain guns firing shrapnel were 
also cunningly hidden in places where they could work the 
greatest destruction. 

The French had so skillfully planned the defenses that the 
Germans twice fought their way up and back the length of the 
main street without discovering the chief centers of resistance. 

For nine hours the German bombardment of Vaux Fort and 
village was prolonged. Enormous aerial torpedoes were hurled 
into the ruined houses, but in the chaos of dust and flame and 
smoke the French held fast, and not a position of any importance 
within the village or its surroundings was abandoned. 



850 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

The first regiments to attack were drawn from the Fifteenth 
and Eighteenth German Army Corps. At daybreak, when the 
German hosts debouched from the plain of the Woevre, there 
was a heavy white mist which enabled them to reach the French 
trenches. Owing to the enemy's superiority in numbers, and 
fearing that they might be surrounded, the French retired from 
their first positions. The Germans pushed their way as far as 
the church, losing heavily, and could go no farther. They found 
some shelter behind the ruined walls of the church and neigh- 
boring houses. Each time that they attempted to leave the pro- 
tective walls the French guns smashed their ranks and slew 
hundreds. 

When the mist vanished and the air cleared, the French bat- 
teries of 75's and 155*s opened a heavy fire on and behind the 
foremost German regiments, which not only cut gaps in their 
formations, but shut them off from any help. The German com- 
manders were in a desperate state of mind, for they could not 
send either men or ammunition to the relief of the troops under 
fire. The Germans did not start any new attacks after that for 
a day and a half, although their artillery continued active. 

Vaux Fort the Germans claimed to have captured, when after 
four days of the bloodiest fighting they had not succeeded in 
reaching even the entanglements around the position. 

The struggle in the village was of the most desperate char- 
acter, but while it lasted there was no more terrible fighting 
during the Verdun battle than that which raged back and forth 
on the outskirts of the fort. French officers from their com- 
manding positions on the neighboring heights afterward testified 
that they had never seen the German command so recklessly and 
wantonly sacrifice their men. Column after column was sent 
forward to certain death. Giant shells hurled by the French 
burst in the midst of the exposed German battalions, and the 
dead were piled in heaps over acres of ground. 

While this slaughter was going on the German artillery was 
trying to destroy the French batteries on the plateau, but being 
cunningly concealed few were silenced. The French freely 
acknowledged the great bravery displayed by the Germans, who, 



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BATTLE OF MORT HOMME 351 

after gaining the foot of the slope, fought splendidly for an 
hour to get up to the fort. Then reserve Bavarian troops were 
brought forward and endeavored to climb the slopes by clinging 
to rocks and bushes. Many lost their foothold, or were struck 
down under the rain of shells. At last even the German com- 
mand sickened of the slaughter and ordered a retreat. 

It was an especially bitter fact to the Germans that they had 
incurred such great losses without gaining any advantage. The 
French positions before the fort and in Vaux village remained 
intact, and the enemy had failed utterly in their attempts to 
pierce the Vaux-Douaumont line. 

After some days' pause for reorganization, on March 16, 1916, 
the Germans made five attacks on the village and fortress of 
Vaux. After a bombardment by thousands of shells they must 
have believed that their opponents would be crushed, if not 
utterly annihilated. But the French soldiers clung stubbornly 
to the shell-ravaged ground, and though sadly reduced in num- 
bers, held their positions and flung back five times the German 
horde. 

Two days later, on the 18th, the Germans resumed their 
offensive, and no less than six attacks were made, in which flame 
projectors were freely used and every effort made to smash the 
stubborn defense. But the French wall of iron held firm, and in 
every instance the Germans were beaten back with colossal 
losses. Again they were compelled to pause and reorganize their 
lines. The calm that succeeded the storm was no less welcome 
to the French defenders in this sector, for they too had been hit 
hard, and it was questionable if they could have held their posi- 
tions against another strong attack. 

Attacks on the sector north of Verdun having failed, the 
G^ermans began on March 20, 1916, and continued during suc- 
ceeding days to turn the French by their (German) right in the 
.Vlalancourt sector. The woods of Montfau^on and Malancourt, 
where the Germans were strongly established, crown a great 
island of sand and clay. The southeastern portion of Malan- 
court Wood forms a sort of promontory known as Avocourt 
Wood, and was the objective of the next German attack. The 

W— War St 5 



352 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 




BATTLE OF MORT HOMME 359 

main purpose in this operation was to extend their offensive 
front. 

On March 20, 1916, after intense bombardment in which their 
heaviest guns were employed, the Germans sent a new division 
that had been hurried up from another front against the French 
positions between Avocourt and Malancourt. The attackers were 
thrown back in disorder at every point but a comer of Malan- 
court Wood. During the night, though strongly opposed by the 
French, who contested every foot of ground, and despite heavy 
losses, the Germans penetrated and occupied Avocourt "Wood, 
from which they could not be dislodged. The French were, 
however, in a position to prevent them from leaving the wood, 
and every attempt made by the Germans to debouch met with 
failure. 

On March 22, 1916, the Germans having bombarded through- 
out the day, made a number of attacks between Avocourt Wood 
and Malancourt village. The French defeated every effort they 
made to leave the wood, but they obtained a foothold on Hau- 
court Hill, where the French occupied the redoubt. 

For five days the Germans were engaged in filling up their 
broken units with fresh troops and in preparing plans of attack. 
On March 28, 1916, strong bodies of German infantry were 
thrown against the French front at Haucourt and Malancourt. 
In numbers they far outmatched the French defenders, but they 
gained no advantage and were thrown back in disorder. Em- 
boldened by this success, the French on the 29th counterattacked 
to recover Avocourt Wood, and occupied the southeast corner, 
which included an important stronghold, the Avocourt Redoubt. 

The Germans attacked and bombarded throughout the day. 
Their attempts to regain the captured position in the wood failed, 
but they secured a foothold on the northern edge of the village 
of Malancourt. 

This place was held by a single French battalion. It formed a 
salient in the French line, and the Germans appeared to be 
desperately eager to capture it. In the night of March 80, 1916, 
they launched mass attacks from three sides of the village. The 
fighting was of the most violent character and raged all night 



354 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

long. There were hand-to-hand struggles from house to hous^ 
the losses were heavy on both sides. Finally the French were 
forced to evacuate, the place now a mass of ruins. They occupied, 
however, positions that commanded the exits to the place. 

Early in the evening of the following day, the 31st, the Ger- 
mans launched two violent attacks on French positions north- 
east of Hill 295 in the Mort Homme sector. Tear shells and 
every variety of projectile were rained upon the French de- 
fenses. The attacks were delivered with dash and vigor, and 
in one instance they succeeded in penetrating a position. But 
the German success was only temporary. The French rallied, 
and fell upon the intruders in a counterattack that drove them 
from the field. 

During the evening and all night long the Germans violently 
bombarded the territory between the wood south of Haudre- 
mont and Vaux village. Twice they attacked in force. The 
French defeated one assault, but the second carried the Ger- 
mans into Vaux, where they occupied the western portion of 
the place. 

On April 2, 1916, the fighting was prolonged throughout the 
day. The Germans employed more than a division in the four 
simultaneous attacks they made on French positions between 
Douaumont Fort and Vaux village. Southeast of the fort they 
succeeded for a time in occupying a portion of Caillette Wood, 
but were subsequently ejected. 

On the same day the Germans on the northern bank of Forges 
Brook, to the west of Verdun, made a spirited attack on the 
French lines on the southern bank, but it was not a success, and 
they lost heavily. They also failed on the following day in an 
attack on Haucourt. 

During the night between March 5 and 6, 1916, the Germans 
attacked two of the salients of the Avocourt-Bethincourt front 
with a large body of troops. On the French right they failed 
entirely, and suffered heavy losses. In the center, after many 
costly failures, they gained a foothold in Haucourt Wood. On 
the other hand, the French delivered a strong counterattack from 
the Avocourt Redoubt and succeeded in reoccupying a large 



BATTLE OF MORT HOMME 355 

portion of the so-called "Square Wood*' and in capturing half a 
hundred prisoners. 

During the night of March, 6, 1916, new German attacks were 
launched along the Bethincourt-Chattancourt road. Part of the 
French first line was occupied, but was later lost. 

On the 7th the Germans attacked on a front of over a mile. 
The assailants lacked neither dash nor daring, and were strong 
in numbers, but they were shattered against the wall of French 
defense and driven back with slaughter to their own line. At- 
tempts on the French positions south and east of Haucourt dur- 
ing the night of the 7th failed, except in the south, where the 
Germans occupied two small works. 

As a result of the fighting between March 30 and April 8, 1916, 
the Germans had possession of the French advanced line on 
Forges Brook and were in a position to strike at the most formi- 
dable line of French defense, the Avocourt-Hill 304-Mort Homme- 
Cumieres front. 

The French General Staff during this gigantic struggle was 
constantly guided by the following rule : Make the Germans pay 
dearly for each of their advances. When it was believed that in 
order to defend a certain point too many sacrifices would have to 
be made, they evacuated that point. As soon as the Germans 
took hold of the point, however, they were the target of a terrific 
fire from all of the French guns, which were put to work at once. 
This was what General Petain, commanding the Verdun army, 
called "the crushing fire." 

On April 9, 1916, a general attack was made by the Germans 
on the front between Haucourt and Cumieres, and simultaneously 
assaults were delivered north and west of Avocourt and in Ma- 
lancourt Wood and the wood near Haudromont Farm. The 
struggle for the possession of Mort Homme developed into one 
of the most notable and important battles of Verdun. The 
attacking front of the Germans ran from west of Avocourt to 
beyond the Meuse as high as the wood in the Haudromont Farm. 
This general attack, one of the most violent that the Germans 
had made at Verdun, failed completely. On the left of the 
French, a little strip of land along the southern edge of the Avo- 



356 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 




BATTLE OF MORT HOMME 357 

court Wood was won, but in a dashing counterattack the French 
recaptured it. In the center the Germans were repulsed every- 
where, except south of Bethincourt, where they succeeded in 
penetrating an advanced work. On the right bank, at the side of 
Pepper Hill, the Germans only gained a foothold in one trench 
east of Vacherauville. The main summit of Mort Homme, Hill 
295, as well as Hill 304, the principal positions, remained firmly 
in the hands of the French. 

A captain of the French General Staff, and who was an eye- 
witness, has described in a French publication some striking 
phases of the fight : 

"It is Sunday, and the sun shines brilliantly above — a real 
spring Sunday. The artillery duel was long and formidable. 
Mort Homme was smoking like a volcano with innumerable 
craters. The attack took place about noon. At the same time, 
from this same place, lines of sharpshooters could be seen be- 
tween the Corbeaux Wood and Cumieres and the gradient at the 
east of Mort Homme. They must have come from the Raffecourt 
or from the Forges Mill, through the covered roads in the valley- 
like depressions in the ground. It was the first wave immedi- 
ately followed by heavy columns. Our artillery fire from the 
edge of Corbeaux Wood isolated them. ... At times a rocket 
appeared in the air ; the call to the cannons, then the marking of 
the road. The regular ticktack of the machine guns and the 
cracking of the shells were distinctly heard even among the 
terrific noises of the bombardment. 

"The German barrage fire in the rear of our front lines is so 
frightful that one must not dream of going through it. Where 
will our reenforcements pass? The inquietude increases when 
at 3.15 p. m. sharp numerous columns in disorder regain on 
the run the wood of Cumieres. What a wonderful sight is the 
flight of the enemy! The sun shines fully on these small 
moving groups. But our shells also explode among them, and 
the groups separate, stop disjointed. They disappear; they 
are lying down. They get up — ^not all of them — but do not 
know where to go, like pheasants flying haphazard before the 
fusillade. 



358 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"With a tenacity that must be acknowledged the enemy comes 
back to the charge, but the new attacks are less ordinate, less 
complete, and quite weak. Even from a distance one feels that 
they cannot succeed as well as the first. This lasts until sunset." 

To honor the French troops for their brilliant defense General 
Petain issued the following Order of the Day : 

"April 9, 1916, has been a glorious day for our armies. The 
furious assaults of the crown prince's soldiers have been broken 
everywhere ; infantry, artillerymen, sappers, and aviators of the 
Second Army have rivaled each other in heroism. Honor to all ! 

"The Germans will attack again without a doubt; let each 
work and watch, so that we may obtain the same success. 

"Courage ! We will win !*' 

Far from showing the effects of their defeat, the Germans on 
April 10, 1916, attacked Caillette Wood, but were repulsed. 
Further attempts made in the course of the night to eject the 
French from the trenches to the south of Douaumont also failed. 
These futile assaults by no means weakened the Germans* de- 
termination, and on March 11, 1916, they attacked in force the 
front between Douaumont and Vaux. At some points they 
succeeded in penetrating the French trenches, but were driven 
out by vigorous counterattacks. 

On March 12, 1916, the French learned that the enemy was 
making elaborate preparations to the west of the Meuse for a 
great assault. Before the Germans could make ready for the 
attack the French artillery showered their trenches and con- 
centration points with shells, and the assaulting columns that 
were in the act of assembling were scattered in disorder. The 
French fire was so intense that the Germans who occupied the 
first line of trenches were unable to leave them. 

Artillery duels continued for several days, marked on the 15th 
by a spirited attack made by the French on the German trenches 
at Douaumont, during which they took several hundred pris- 
oners and wrested from the enemy some positions. 

The German bombardment now reached the highest pitch oi 
intensity, and the sector between Bras on the Meuse and 
Douaumont was swept by a storm of fire. Poivre (or Pepper) 



BATTLE OF MORT HOMME 359 

Hill, Haudremont, and Chaufour Wood especially, were sub- 
jected to such destruction that old landmarks were wiped 
out as by magic, and the very face of nature was changed 
and distorted. 

Having, as they believed, made the way clear for advance, the 
Germans launched an attack in great force. It was estimated 
that the attacking mass numbered 35,000 men. Believing that 
their guns had so crushed the French forces that they would be 
unable to present any serious defense, the German hordes swept 
on to attack on a front of about three miles. Their reception was 
hardly what had been anticipated. Great ragged gaps were torn 
in their formations as the French brought rifles, machine guns, 
and heavy artillery into play. Their dead lay in heaps on the 
ground, and along the whole front they were only able on the 
right to penetrate a French trench south of Chaufour Wood. 
The greater part of this was subsequently won back by their 
opponents in a counterattack. On the 19th a German infantry 
assault launched against Eparges failed. 

There was a lull in the fighting during most of the day of 
April 28, 1916, but in the twilight the Germans attacked at points 
between Douaumont and Vaux and west of Thiaumont, but were 
forced back by the French artillery. 

During the following day the Germans incessantly bombarded 
French positions and made a futile attack. On the 30th the 
French forces north of Mort Homme were on the offensive, 
and carried a German trench. East of Mort Homme on the 
Cumieres front on the same day they captured from the Germans 
1,000 meters of trenches along a depth varying from 300 to 
600 meters. 

The Germans reattacked almost immediately with two of their 
most famous corps, the Eighteenth and the Third Branden- 
burgers, which had suffered so severely at Douaumont that they 
had been relegated to the rear. It was estimated by the neutral 
military critic, Colonel Feyler, that the first of these corps had 
lost 17,000 men and the second 22,000. After the fight in which 
they had been so hard hit the two corps had spent seven weeks 
resting and were now drawn again into the battle. Both were 



S60 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

in action in the evening of April 30, 1916, the Third north of 
Mort Homme and the Eighteenth at Cumieres. 

According to the evidence given by German prisoners, the 
Third Corps again received heavy punishment. Of one regiment, 
the Sixty-fourth, only a remnant survived, and one battalion lost 
nearly a hundred men during the first attack. 

The Eighteenth Corps of Brandenburgers succeeded in pene- 
trating one point in the French lines, but a French regiment 
rushed the trench with fixed bayonets and destroyed or captured 
all the Germans in occupation. 

Some futile attempts were made by the Germans to retrieve 
their failure, but the French firmly maintained their positions. 

In the evening of May 1, 1916, the French again assumed the 
offensive and successfully stormed a 500-yard sector south of 
Douaumont. On the front northwest of Mort Homme, between 
Hills 295 and 265, the French made a brilliant attack in the 
evening of May 3, 1916, which was entirely successful, the Grer- 
mans being pushed back beyond the line they had won early in 
March, 1916. 

The position of the French front on May 5, 1916, was as 
follows : It was bounded by a line that ran through Pepper Hill, 
Hardaumont Wood, the ravine to the southwest of the village of 
Douaumont, Douaumont plateau to the south, and a few hun- 
dred yards from the fort, the northern edge of Caillette Wood, 
the ravine and village of Vaux, and the slopes of the fortress 
of Vaux. 

On May 5, 1916, this line vras on the whole intact. Only in 
one place had the Germans gained a small advance; they had 
captured Vaux village, which consisted of a single street, but 
the French occupied the slopes near by that commanded the place. 

There was no change on the French line on the left bank, 
where the character of the ground was favorable for defense. 
For two months the French line had remained fixed on Hill 304 
and on Mort Homme. Only the covering line, which extended 
from the wood of Avocourt to the Meuse along the slopes of 
Haucourt, the bed of Forges Brook, and the crests north of 
Cumieres, had been broken by the terrific attacks of the enemy. 



BATTLES OF HILL 304 AND DOUAUMONT 361 

The crown prince's army, which had been badly punished and 
suffered heavy losses in this area in March, renewed the attempt 
to capture Mort Homme and Hill 304 in May, 1916. It was 
evident from the elaborate preparations made to possess these 
points that the Germans considered them of first importance 
and that their conquest would hasten the defeat of the French 
army. 



CHAPTER XLVI 



BATTLES OP HILL 304 AND DOUAUMONT 
— THE STRUGGLE AT FLEURY 

IT will be recalled that on April 9, 1916, the crown prince had 
launched a general attack on the whole front between Avo- 
court and the Meuse, the capture of Hill 304 being one of his 
chief objectives. The onslaught, carried out on a huge scale, 
was a failure, and another attempt made on the 28th also col- 
lapsed. Since then the Germans had been held in their trenches, 
unable to engage in any action owing to the vigilance of the 
French artillery gunners. 

On May 3, 1916, the Germans began a violent bombardment 
as a prelude to another attempt to capture Hill 340. On the 
following day, about 2 p. m., their assaulting waves were hurled 
against the French positions on the counterslope north of the 
hill. The bombardment had been so destructive that large num- 
bers of French soldiers were buried in the trenches. The active 
defenders that remained were not strong enough in numbers to 
repel the masses of Germans thrown against them, and the 
slopes were occupied by the enemy. During the night there was 
a French counterattack; it was directed by a brilliant officer of 
the General Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Odent, Who had at his own 
request been assigned the duty of defending this dangerous posi- 
tion. Rallying the men of his regiment, he threw them against 
the foe. The French succeeded in reaching the edges of the 
plateau facing northeast. This advance was not gained without 



362 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

considerable losses, and during the charge Lieutenant Colonel 
Odent was killed. 

On May 5, 1916, the Germans after an intense bombardment, 
in which gas shells were lavishly used, tried to turn Hill 304, 
and also attacked the Camart Wood and Hill 287. On the 
northern slope of Hill 304 the French trenches were so badly 
damaged that they could not be held. But the Germans, caught 
by the French artillery fire, found it impossible to advance. 
Having failed to reach the plateau from the north, an attempt 
was made through the ravine and behind the woods west and 
northwest of Hill 304. This plan was frustrated by the French, 
who repulsed them with the bayonet. 

The German attacks having failed everjrwhere. Hill 304 was 
subjected to continuous and violent bombardment. In the after- 
noon of the 7th they attacked again. With the exception of a 
strip of trench east of the hill, which was retaken the following 
night, they did not register any advance. 

Among the German regiments participating in these attacks 
the following were identified: Regiments of the Eleventh Ba- 
varian Division, a regiment of the Hundred and Ninety-second 
Brigade, the Twelfth Reserve Division, the Fourth Division, and 
the Forty-third Reserve Division. 

From the 13th to the 16th of May, 1916, the Germans con- 
tinued their attacks on the Camart Wood west of Hill 304. In 
these operations they employed a fresh corps, the Twenty-second 
Reserve Corps, for the first time. 

After a lull lasting a few days the battle assumed an increas- 
ing violence on the left bank. In the afternoon of the 20th the 
Germans threw four divisions to the assault of Mort Homme. 
During the night and on the following day the battle raged with 
undiminished fury. At a heavy cost the Germans succeeded at 
last in capturing some trenches north and west of Mort Homme. 
At one time the French second lines were seriously threatened, 
but a spirited defense scattered the attackers. After intense 
fighting the French won back some of the ground they had lost 
on Hill 287, and during May 21 and 22, 1916, succeeded in re- 
gaining other positions captured by the enemy. 



BATTLES OF HILL 304 AND DOUAUMONT 363 

The recovery of Fort Douaumont which had been occupied by 
Brandenburgers since February 25, 1916, was now the aim of 
the French. General Mangin, one of the youngest officers of that 
rank in the French army and commanding the Fifth Division, 
directed operations. The French brought into action their 
heaviest artillery, which opened a terrific fire on the German 
lines. 

The French soldiers accepted it as an omen of success when 
about 8 o^clock in the morning of May 22, 1916, six captive bal- 
loons stationed over the right bank of the Meuse exploded, thus 
depriving the German batteries of their observers on whom they 
counted to get the range. 

At about 10 in the morning the French infantry by a brilliant 
charge captured three lines of German trenches. The fortress 
of Douaumont was penetrated, and during the entire night a 
fierce struggle was continued within its walls. In spite of the 
most violent efforts of the Germans to dislodge the French they 
maintained their positions within the fort. 

Throughout the morning of May 23, 1916, the Germans rained 
shells on French positions defended by the Hundred and Twenty- 
ninth Regiment. The bombardment spread destruction among 
the French troops, but they still clung to the terrain they had 
won and refused to yield or retreat. 

Throughout the night of May 23, 1916, the bloody struggle 
continued unabated. On the morning of May 24, 1916, the for- 
tress was still in the hands of the French, with the exception of 
the northern salient and some parts to the east. On the follow- 
ing day two new Bavarian divisions were thrown into the fight 
and succeeded in retaking the lines of the fortress, driving back 
the French as far as the immediate approaches; that is, to the 
places they occupied previous to their attack. 

On the left bank of the Meuse the fighting slowed down, de- 
creasing gradually in intensity. The Germans were reacting 
feebly in this territory, concentrating their greatest efforts on 
the right bank. Throughout the whole region of Thiaumont, 
Douaumont, and Vaux they pressed the fighting and were en- 
gaged in almost continuous attacks and bombardments. 



164 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 




BATTLES OF HILL 304 AND DOUAUMONT 365 

On the 1st of June, 1916, all the French front in this sector 
was attacked. The Germans, disregarding their heavy losses, 
returned repeatedly to the charge. It was ascertained through a 
document found on a prisoner that General Falkenhayn, chief of 
the German General Staff, had given the order to advance at 
all costs. 

The Germans attacked fearlessly, but the only progress they 
succeeded in making was through the Caillette Wood to the 
southern edge of Vaux Pool. 

For fiwe days this battle continued, one of the most desperately 
fought around Verdun, and yet the Germans made insignificant 
gains, out of all proportion to their immense losses. The Ba- 
varian Division which led the attack displayed an "unprecedented 
violence,'* according to a French communique issued at the time. 
The Germans, repulsed again and again, returned to the charge, 
and succeeded in obtaining a foothold in the first houses of 
Damloup. 

The struggle was continued without pause during the night 
from June 2 to June 3, 1916. By repeated and vigorous attacks 
the Germans at last entered the ditches to the north of the 
fortress of Vaux, but were unable to penetrate the works oc- 
cupied by the French. 

About 8 o'clock in the evening of June 3, 1916, the Germans 
attempted to surprise the fortress at the southeast by escalading 
the ravine which cuts the bank of the Mouse near Damloup. 
This was foiled by the French, who drove them back in a 
sharp counterattack. The Germans did not make the attempt 
again at this time, but continued to bombard the fort with 
heavy guns. 

On June 4, 1916, at 3 in the afternoon, several German bat- 
talions advancing from Vaux Pool attempted to climb the slopes 
to the* wood of Fumin, but were swept back by French machine- 
gun fire. In the evening and during the night the Germans re- 
peatedly attacked without gaining any advantage. The wood of 
Fumin remained in French possession. 

There were no attacks on the following day, owing to weather 
conditions and the general exhaustion of the German troops. 



866 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 




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BATTLES OF HILL 304 AND DOUAUMONT 367 

But the Sixth German Artillery resumed its firing on the for- 
tress, throwing such an avalanche of shells that every approach 
to the place became impassable. Inside the works a mere hand- 
ful of French under Major Raynal firmly held its ground. 

In the evening of June 6, 1916, the garrison of the fortress of 
Vaux repulsed a savage German attack; but during the night, 
owing to the tremendous bombardment which cut off all com- 
munication with the fortress, the position of the French became 
serious indeed. The brave garrison was now entirely sur- 
rounded. Finally by means of signals they were able to make 
their condition known to French troops at some distance away. 
Unless they could get speedy assistance there was no hope of 
their holding the fort. The struggle continued more desperately 
than ever as the Grermans realized how precarious was the 
French hold on the place. 

On June 6, 1916, the French gunner Vannier, taking with him 
some comrades, most of whom were wounded, succeeded in 
escaping through an air hole and tried to reach the French lines. 

The heroic garrison had now reached the limit of human en- 
durance. Without food or water, it was hopeless for them to 
continue their defense of the place. When the last hope was 
gone. Major Raynal addressed this message to his men : 

''We have stayed the limit. Officers and men have done their 
duty. Long live France V 

On June 7, 1916, the Germans took possession of the fortress 
and its heroic garrison. 

Major Raynal for his brave conduct was by order of General 
Joffre made a Commander of the Legion of Honor. According 
to a German report Raynal was permitted by the crown prince 
to retain his sword in appreciation of his valorous defense of the 
fort. It must be conceded that the capture of Fort Vaux, though 
costly, was a valuable acquisition to the Germans, and served to 
hearten and encourage the troops who had met with so many 
disasters in this area. 

By this victory they were brought into contact with the inner 
line of the Verdun defenses, and now if ever were in a position 
for a supreme effort which might decide the war, as far as 

X— War St. 5 



368 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

France was concerned. But if this desired end was to be ob^ 
tained, the crushing blow must be delivered at once, for time 
threatened. Russian successes on the southeastern front had 
created a new and serious problem. It was known that a Franco- 
British offensive was imminent. The Germans were in a situa- 
tion that called for heroic action: the capture of Verdun with 
all possible speed. 

During the month of June, 1916, the Germans used up men 
and material on a lavish and unprecedented scale. On June 23, 
1916, they started a general attack against the French positions 
of Froideterre, Fleury, and Souville. From papers taken from 
prisoners it was learned that a very great offensive was intended 
which the Germans believed would carry them up to the very 
walls of Verdun. The German troops were ordered to advance 
without stopping, without respite, and regardless of losses, to 
capture the last of the French positions. The assaulting force 
that was to carry out this program was estimated to number 
between 70,000 and 80,000 men. 

Preceded by a terrific bombardment the Germans attacked at 
8 o'clock in the morning of June 23, 1916, on a front of five 
kilometers, from Hill 321 to La Lauffee. Under the fury of the 
onslaught the French line was bent in at a certain point. The 
Thiaumont works and some near-by trenches were carried by the 
Germans. One of their strong columns succeeded in penetrating 
the village of Fleury, but was speedily ejected. To the west in 
the woods of Chapitre and Fumin all the German assaults were 
shattered. During the night the French counterattacked ; th^ 
recaptured a. part of the ground lost between Hills 820 and 321 
and drove the Germans back as far as the Thiaumont works. 

The battle raged with varying fortunes to the combatants all 
day long on June 24, 1916. The village of Fleury in the center 
was directly under fire of the German guns, and they succeeded 
in occupying a group of houses. The French delivered a dash- 
ing counterattack, and were successful in freeing all but a small 
part of the place. On the 25th the Germans doubled the violence 
of their bombardment. Not since they assumed the offensive 
had they launched such a tornado of destructive fire. Another 



THE BATTLE OF MORT HOMME 



369 




VERDUN GAIN UP TO AUGUST, 1916 



370 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

objective of the Germans besides Fleury was the fortress of 
Souville. In the ravines of Bazile they suffered appalling losses, 
but succeeded in gaining a foothold in the wood of Chapitre. 
The French, counterattacking, regained most of the lost ground, 
and still held the village of Fleury. 

The struggle around Thiaumont works continued for days, 
during which the place changed hands several times. It was 
recaptured by the French on June 28, 1916, lost again on the 
following day, retaken once more, and on July 4, 1916, it was 
again in German hands. The struggle over this one position 
will give some impression of the intensity of the fighting along 
the entire front during this great offensive which the Germans 
hoped and believed would prove decisive. 

The general tactics pursued by the Germans in these attacks 
never varied. They made their efforts successively on the ri^t 
and on the left of the point under aim, so that they could en- 
circle the point which formed in this manner a salient, and was 
suitable for concentration of artillery fire. 

The Germans failed to make any serious advance in the center 
of the French lines, being halted by vigorous counterattacks. 

On July 12, 1916, the Germans attacked with six regiments and 
pushed their way to the roads to Fleury and Vaux within 800 
meters of the fortress of Souville. This advance during the 
next few days was halted by the French. 

The Germans claimed to have captured thirty-nine French 
officers and 2,000 men during their attack. They did not, ap- 
parently, attempt to pursue their advantage and press on, but- 
returned to bombarding the French works at Souville, Chenois, 
and La Lauff ee. As the Allied offensive on the Somme developed 
strength, the German attacks on Verdun perceptibly weakened^ 
and beyond a few patrol engagements in Chenois Wood, no 
further infantry fighting was reported from Verdun on July 16, 
1916. But the French continued to "nibble** into the German 
positions around Fleury three miles from Verdun, and had im- 
proved and strengthened their positions at Hill 304. Fleury 
was now the nearest point to Verdun that the Germans had 
succeeded in reaching, but here their advance was halted. 



SPRING OPERATIONS IN OTHER SECTORS 371 

The British had meanwhile been pressing forward on the 
Somme, and by July 23, 1916, had penetrated the German third 
line. The Russians too were winning successes, and had dealt 
a destructive blow in Volhynia. The pressure from the east 
and west forced the Germans to withdraw large bodies of troops 
from the Verdun sector and send them to the relief of their 
brothers on other fronts. 

In the closing days of July, 1916, the Franco-British "push** 
became the principal German preoccupation. The great struggle 
for Verdun, the longest battle continuously fought in history, 
from that time on became a military operation of only second 
importance. 

The magnitude of this great struggle may be illustrated by 
a few statistics. In the six months* combat some 3,000 cannon 
had been brought into action. About two millions of men 
had attacked or defended the stronghold. No correct esti- 
mate can be made of the losses on both sides, but it is stated 
that at least 200,000 were killed, and the end was not yet in 
sight. 

The second anniversary of the war found the Germans on the 
defensive. Twenty million fighters had been called to the colors 
of twelve belligerent nations ; about four million had been killed, 
and over ten million wounded and taken prisoners. For all this 
vast expenditure in blood and treasure no decisive battle had 
been fought since the German defeat on the Mame in Sep- 
tember, 1914. 



CHAPTER XLVII 

SPRING OPERATIONS IN OTHER SECTORS 

WHILE greater issues were being fought out in the Verdun 
sector, from the beginning of the second phase of the Ger- 
man attack during March, there was considerable sporadic "live- 
liness" on other parts of the western front. Though the main 
interest centered for the time around the apparently inpreg- 



372 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

nable fortresses of which Verdun is the nucleus, a continuous, 
fluctuating activity was kept in progress along the whole line 
up to the opening of the big allied offensive on the last day of 
June. March 1, 1916, found the battle line practically unchanged. 
From Ostend on the North Sea it ran straightway south through 
the extreme western comer of Belgium, crossing the French 
frontier at a point northwest of Lille. From there it zigzagged 
its way to a point about sixty miles north of Paris, whence 
it then followed an eastern tangent paralleling the northern 
bank of the River Aisne; thence easterly to Verdun, forming 
there a queer half -moon salient arc with the points bent sharply 
toward the center. From the south of Verdun the line extended 
unbroken and rather straight south and a little easterly to the 
Swiss frontier. 

In the Ypres sector during the first four days of March the 
fighting was confined to the usual round of violent artillery duels, 
mine springing, hand grenade skirmishing, intermittent hand-to- 
hand attacks and effective aircraft raids. On March 1, 1916, 
twenty British aircraft set out seeking as their objective the 
important German lines of communication and advanced bases 
east and north of Lille. Considerable damage was inflicted with 
high explosive bombs. One British aeroplane failed to return. 
From all parts thrilling, tragic and heroic aerial exploits are 
recorded. While cruising over the Beanon-Jussy road a German 
Fokker observed a rapidly moving enemy transport. Re- 
versing his course, the pilot floated over the procession and 
dropped bombs. The motor lorries stopped immediately, when 
the aeroplane dropped toward the earth, attacked the transport 
at close range and got away again in safety. On the same day 
also a French biplane equipped with double motors encountered 
an enemy plane near Cemay, in the valley of the Thur, and 
brought it down a shattered mass of flame. North of Soissons, 
near the village of Vezaponin, a French machine was shot down 
into the German lines; another French aero was struck by 
German antiaircraft guns; with a marvelous dive and series of 
loops it crashed to earth. Both pilot and observer were buried 
with their machine. During the evening of March 1, 1916, the 



SPRING OPERATIONS IN OTHER SECTORS 373 

Grerman infantry, after a furious cannonading north of the 
Somme, delivered a sharp assault on a line of British trenches, 
but were held back by machine-gun fire. Along the Ypres sector 
the same night violent gunfire took place on both sides with ap- 
parently small effect or damage. In a previous volume it was 
mentioned that the Germans had once more recaptured the 
"international trench*' on February 14, 1916. For a fortnight 
the British artillery constantly held the position under fire and 
prevented the consolidation of the ground. At 4.30 a. m. the 
British infantry suddenly emerged from their trenches. The 
grenadiers dashed ahead, smothering the surprised Germans 
with bombs. The general disorder was increased by the fact that 
the trench parties were just being relieved. In a few minutes the 
lost ground was recovered, the German line dangerously pushed 
in and 254 prisoners, including five officers, fell to the British. 
At midday the Germans bombarded the line with fifty batteries 
for four hours. Then waves of assaulting columns were let 
loose against the British. The latter noticed that the front line 
of infantry hurled their bombs several yards behind the British 
trenches and rushed forward with hands up. Immediately a 
hurricane of shells from their own guns burst among the Ger- 
man infantry. The survivors flung themselves on the ground 
and crawled into the British trenches for protection. This ac- 
tion was the more significant in that the men who thus sur- 
rendered were all very young and belonged to a regiment which, 
until then, had fought with conspicuous bravery. At the end 
of the day the British counted more than 300 corpses, while 
their own losses were slight and their entire gains maintained. 
Most of the combats in the Artois and Ypres sectors consisted 
of mine springing and crater fighting. What was once the 
Hohenzollern Redoubt was particularly the scene of some vigor- 
ous subterranean warfare. What happened there on March 2 is 
thus described by an eyewitness: "Many huge craters have 
been made, won, and what is more, retained by a rare com- 
bination of skill, courage, and endurance. Men who fought all 
through the war have seen nothing comparable with the largest 
of these craters. They are amphitheaters, and cover perhaps 



874 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

half an acre of ground. When the mine exploded at 5.45 p. m. 
on March 2, 1916, a thing like a great black mushroom rose from 
the earth. Beneath it appeared, with the ponderous momentum 
of these big upheavals, a white growth like the mushroom's gills. 
It was the chalk subsoil following in the wake of the black loam. 
With this black and white upheaval went up, Heaven knows, 
how many bodies and limbs of Germans, scattered everywhere 
with the rest of the debris. And the explosion . sent up many 
graves as well as the bodies of the living. One of the Britii^ 
bombers who occupied the crater and spent a crowded hour hurl- 
ing bombs from the farther lip found that he was steadying 
himself and getting a lever for the bowling arm by clinging on to 
a black projection with his left hand. It was a Hessian boot. The 
soil of the amphitheater was so worked, mixed, and sieved by the 
explosive action and the effects of the melting snow that it was 
almost impassable. A staff officer, among others, who went up to 
help, had to be pulled out of the morass as he was carrying away 
one of the wounded. There is no fighting so terrible and so con- 
densed as crater fighting. The struggle is a veritable graveyard, 
a perfect target for bomb and grenade and the slower attack of 
the enemy's mine. The British held a circle of German trenches 
on a little ridge of ground north of Loos. The capture meant that 
they could overlook the plain beyond and win a certain projection. 
At 6.00 p. m. on March 2, 1916, the engineers exploded four mines 
under the nearer arc, and within a few minutes, while artillery 
thundered overhead, the British infantry advanced in spite of 
terrible mud and occupied each crater. Not a single machine gun 
was fired at them as they charged — probably the mines had 
destroyed them all — and their casualties were very small 
indeed." 

Germans counterattacking hurried up their communication 
trenches, and as they came on some examples of prompt handi- 
work stopped their advance. A sergeant and one man stopped 
one rush ; a color sergeant and private, well equipped with sand- 
bags, each holding a score of bombs, performed miracles of re- 
sistance. Every night the Germans came on, capping a day of 
continuous bombardment with showers of bombs, rifle grenades, 



SPRING OPERATIONS IN OTHER SECTORS 875. 

and artillery, mostly 5.9 howitzers, and with infantry onsets 
at close quarters. They stormed with dash and determination, 
backed by good artillery and an apparently inexhaustible stock 
of grenades. The tale of the German losses was high. One 
communication trench packed with men was raked from end to 
end with a British Lewis gun till it was a graveyard. On this 
occasion the British artillery was overwhelming in amount and 
volume; sheik were not spared, and they fired ten to the Ger- 
mans' one. Within less than a mile and a half there were eight 
groups of mines. 

On March 3, 1916, an intense artillery duel progressed for 
possession of the Bluff, an elevated point above the Ypres- 
Comines Canal. The Germans evidently regarded the point as 
important, for they flung great masses of troops over the Bluff, 
when the British attacked and captured more than their lost 
lines of trenches running along an eastern hillock by the canal. 
The next night and morning the British heavy artillery poured 
a continuous stream of shell on the Bluff in well-marked time. 
The men in the front trenches began cheering, as always before 
an attack, but instead of advancing they shot over a heavy, 
shower of bombs. One soldier alone was credited with having 
flung more than 300 bombs into the German trenches. In the 
obscurity of the gray dawn British troops quietly and suddenly, 
dashed into the Germans and cleared the trenches with bayonets. 
This was accomplished in two minutes, when the large guns 
spread a curtain of fire over the Germans, inflicting severe 
losses. The German soldiers then attempted resolute counter- 
attacks, but were repulsed with machine-gun fire. 

Between the 1st and 4th of March, 1916, there was sharp gre- 
nade fighting southeast of Vermelles, in some mine craters. After 
severe bombardment the Germans attempted to recapture the 
craters by infantry attacks, but apparently without success. In 
Artois they endeavored to drive the French from a crater they 
occupied near the road from Neuville to La Folie, and failed in 
the enterprise. In the Argonne the French bombarded the Ger- 
man organizations in the region southeast of Vauquois and de- 
moUshed several shelters, while in Lorraine, in the neighborhood 



876 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

of the Thiauville Ponds, the French carried sections of German 
trenches after artillery preparation, capturing sixty prisoners, 
including two officers, and some machine guns. On March 4, 
1916, a serious explosion occurred in the powder magazine known 
as "Double Couronne,'' St. Denis, a fort used by the French as 
a munitions store. The concussion was so terrific that a car a 
considerable distance away and containing thirty-two passengers 
was overturned and nearly all were injured. Altogether the 
casualties amounted to about thirty-five killed and 200 wounded. 
In the Ypres sector during March 4 and 5, 1916, the fighting 
came to a standstill and the positions remained unchanged. In 
the Champagne vigorous artillery action continued on both sides 
with occasional infantry attacks and counterattacks of little con- 
sequence. In the district about Loos and northeast of Ypres 
heavy cannonading endured all day on the 6th, the Germans 
hurling quantities of large caliber shells over the enemy's 
trenches without any apparent object. On the Ypres-Comines 
Canal the British still held the positions gained by storm on 
March 2, 1916. Near Soissons the French heavily bombarded 
the German works, and their terrific fire at Badenviller in Lor- 
raine compelled a German retirement from the positions estab- 
lished there February 21, 1916. In the Flanders sector, on the 
Belgian front, concentrated artillery fire silenced German bomb 
throwers in a futile attempt to capture a trench. In the Woevre 
district the German troops, after a fierce assault, stormed the 
village of Fresnes and captured it, the French retaining a few 
positions on the outskirts. The German infantry advanced in 
close formation and literally swarmed into the village, while 
the French 75's and machine guns tore great gaps in their ranks. 
Northeast of Vermelles small detachments of British troops pene- 
trated the German trenches on March 6, 1916, but were com- 
pelled to retire. Active engagements and furious hand-to-hand 
fighting centered around Maisons de Champagne. The positions 
the French had taken on February 11, 1916, were recaptured by 
surprise bayonet attacks, the Germans taking two officers and 
150 men prisoners. In the Argonne region attempts on the part 
of the Germans to occupy some mine craters were repulsed. 



BATTLE OF THE SOMME 877 

CHAPTER XJLVIII 

BATTLE OF THE SOMME — ALLIED PREPA- 
RATIONS — POSITIONS OF THE 
OPPOSING FORCES 

PICARDY, where the great battle of the Somme was staged 
in the summer of 1916, is a typical French farming region of 
peasant cultivators, a rolling table-land, seldom rising more than 
a few hundred feet, and intersected by myriad shallow, lazy- 
flowing streams. Detached farms are few, the farmers congre- 
gating in and around the little villages that stand in the midst of 
hedgeless com and beet fields stretching far and wide. Here 
the Somme flows with many crooked turns, now broadening into 
a lake, now flowing between bluffs and through swamps. There 
is, or rather was, an inviting, peaceful look about this country. 
Untouched, remote from the scene of battle it seemed, yet here 
in the spring of 1916 preparations were already going forward 
for what was to prove one of the fiercest struggles of the 
Great War. 

In July, 1915, the British had taken over most of the line from 
Arras to the Somme, and had passed a quiet winter in the 
trenches. The long pause had been occupied by the active Ger- 
mans in transforming the chalk hills they occupied into fortified 
positions which they believed would prove impregnable. The 
motives for the Allies' projected offensive on the Somme were 
to weaken the German pressure on Verdun, which had become 
severe in June, and to prevent the transference of large bodies 
of troops from the west to the eastern front where they might 
endanger the plans of General Brussilov. 

The British had been receiving reenforcements steadily, and 
were at the beginning of 1916 in a position to lengthen their 
line sensibly. In the neighborhood of Arras they were able to 
relieve an entire French army, the Tenth. The French on their 
side had by no means exhausted their reserves at Verdun, but it 
would prove a welcome relief to them if by strong pressure the 



378 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

long strain were lifted in Picardy. Sir Douglas Haig, it was 
stated, would have preferred to delay the Somme offensive a 
little longer, for while his forces were rapidly increasing, the 
new levies were not as yet completely trained. In view, how- 
•ever, of the general situation of the Allies in the west it was 
imperative that the blow should be delivered not later than mid- 
summer of 1916. 

The original British Expeditionary Force, popularly known as 
the "Old Contemptibles," who performed prodigies of valor in 
the first terrible weeks of the war, had largely disappeared. In 
less than two years the British armies had grown from six to 
seventy divisions, not including the troops sent by India and 
Canada. In addition there were large numbers of trained men 
in reserve sufficient, it was believed, to replace the probable 
wastage that would occur for a year to come. It was in every 
sense a New British Army, for the famous old regiments of the 
line had been renewed since Mons, and the men of the new 
battalions were drawn from the same source that supplied their 
drafts. The old formations had a history, the new battalions had 
theirs to make. This in good time they proceeded to do, as will 
be subsequently shown. 

In the Somme area the German front was held by the right 
wing of the Second Army, once Von Billow's, but now com- 
manded by Otto von Below a brother of Fritz von Below com- 
manding the Eighth Army in the east. The area of Von Below's 
army in the Somme region began south of Monchy, while the 
Sixth Army under the Crown Prince of Bavaria lay due north. 
The front between Gommecourt and Frise in the latter part of 
June was covered in this manner. North of the Ancre lay the 
Second Guard Reserve Division and the Fifty-second Division 
(two units of the Fourteenth Reserve Corps raised in Baden, 
but including Prussians, Alsatians, and what not) , the Twenty- 
sixth and Twenty-eighth Reserve Divisions, and then the Twelfth 
Division of the Sixth Reserve Corps. Covering the road to 
Peronne south of the river were the One Hundred and Twenty- 
first Division, the Eleventh Division, and the Thirty-sixth Divi* 
sion belonging to the Seventeenth Danzig Corps. 



BATTLES OF THE SOMME 



379 




SBCTOR WHERE GRAND OPFENSIYE WAS STARTED 



380 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

The British General Staff had decided that the Fourth Army; 
under General Sir Henry Rawlinson should make the attack. 
General Rawlinson was a tried and experienced officer, who at 
the beginning of the campaign had commanded the Seventh Divi- 
sion, and at Loos the Fourth Army Corps. His front extended 
from south of Gommecourt across the valley of the Ancre to the 
north of Maricourt, where it joined the French. There were five 
corps in the British Fourth Army, the Eighth under Lieutenant 
General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston ; the Tenth under Lieutenant 
General Sir T. L. N. Morland, the Third under Lieutenant Gen- 
eral Sir W. P. Pulteney, the Fifteenth under Lieutenant General 
Home, and the Thirteenth under Lieutenant General Congreve, 
V. C. The nucleus for another army, mostly composed of cavalry 
divisions, lay behind the forces along the front. Called at first 
the Reserve, and afterward the Fifth Army under the command 
of General Sir Hubert Gough, it subsequently won renown in 
some of the hottest fights of the campaign. 

The French attacking force, the Sixth Army, once commanded 
by Castelnau, but now by a famous artilleryman, General Fayolle, 
lay from Maricourt astride the Somme to opposite Fay village. 
It comprised the very fk)wer of the French armies, including the 
Twentieth Corps, which had won enduring fame at Verdun under 
the command of General Balfourier. It was principally com- 
posed of Parisian cockneys and countrymen from Lorraine, and 
at Arras in 1914, and in the Artois in the summer of 1915, had 
achieved memorable renown. There were also the First Colonial 
Corps under General Brandelat, and the Thirty-fifth Corps under 
General Allonier. To the south of the attacking force lay the 
Tenth Army commanded by General Micheler, which was held 
in reserve. The soldiers of this army had seen less fighting 
than their brothers who were to take the offensive, but they 
were quite as eager to be at the enemy, and irked over the 
delay. 

During the entire period of bombardment the French and 
British aviators, by means of direct observation and by photo- 
graphs, rendered full and detailed reports of the results obtained 
by the fire. The British and French General Staffs thus followed 



BATTLE OF THE SOMME S81 

from day to day, and even from hour to hour, the progress made 
in the destruction of German trenches and shelters. 

During the bombardment some seventy raids were undertaken 
between Gommecourt and the extreme British left north of 
Ypres. Some of these raids were for the purpose of deceiving 
the enemy as to the real point of assault and others to identify 
the opposing units. Few of the raiders returned to the British 
line without bagging a score or so of prisoners. Among thes€ 
raiding parties a company of the Ninth Highland Light In- 
fantry especially distinguished themselves. 

Fighting in the air continued every day during this prelim- 
inary bombardment. It was essential that the Germans should be 
prevented from seeing the preparations that were going forward. 
The eyes of a hostile army are its aeroplanes and captive balloons. 
Owing to the daring of the French and British aviators the 
German flyers were literally prohibited from the lines of the 
Allies during all that time. In five days fifteen German machines 
were brought to the ground. Very few German balloons even 
attempted to take the air. 

On June 24, 1916, the bombardment of German trenches had 
reached the highest pitch of intensity. The storm of shells swept 
the entire enemy front, destroying trenches at Ypres and Arras 
and equally obliterating those at Beaumont-Hamel and Fricourt. 

By July 28, 1916, all the region subjected to bombardment 
presented a scene of complete and appalling devastation. Only 
a few stumps marked the spot where leafy groves had stood. 
The pleasant little villages that had dotted ttie. smiling landscape 
were reduced to mere heaps of rubbish. Hardly a bit of wall was 
left standing. It seemed impossible that any living ttiing could 
survive in all that shell-smitten territory. 

As the day fixed upon for the attack drew near the condition 
of the weather caused the Briti^ command some anxious hours. 
The last week of June, 1916, was cloudy, and frequent showers 
of rain had transformed the dusty roads into deep mud. But in 
the excitement that preceded an assault of such magnitude the 
condition of the weather could not dampen the feverish ardor 
of the troops. There was so much to be done that there was no 



882 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

time to consider anything but the work in hand. A nervous 
exhilaration prevailed among the men, who looked eagerly and 
yet fearfully forward to the hour for the great offensive from 
which such great things were expected. 

In the afternoon of the last day of June, 1916, the sky cleared 
and soon the stars shone brightly in the clear, blue night. Orders 
were given out to the British commanders to attack on the follow- 
ing morning three hours after daybreak. 



CHAPTER XLIX 

THE BRITISH ATTACK 

THE first day of July, 1916, dawned warm and cloudless. 
Since half past 5 o'clock every gun of the Allies on a front 
of twenty-five miles was firing without pause, producing a steady 
rumbling sound from which it was difficult to distinguish the 
short bark of the mortars, the crackle of the field guns, and the 
deep roar of the heavies. The slopes to the east were wreathed 
in smoke, while in the foreground lay Albert, where German 
shells fell from time to time, with its shattered church of Notre 
Dame de Bebrieres, from whose ruined campanile the famous 
gilt Virgin hung head downward. At intervals along the Allies' 
front, and for several miles to the rear, captive kite balloons, 
tugging at their moorings, gleamed brightly in the morning light. 

The Allies' bombardment reached its greatest intensity about 
7.15, when all the enemy slopes were hidden by waves of smoke 
like a heavy surf breaking on a rock-bound coast. Here and 
there spouts and columns of earth and debris shot up in the 
sunlight. It seemed that every living thing must perish within 
the radius of that devastating hurricane of fire. 

At 7.30 exactly there was a short lull in the bombardment — 
just long enough for the gunners everywhere to lengthen their 
range, and then the fire became a barrage. The staff officers, 
who had been studying their watches, now gave the order, and 



THE BRITISH ATTACK 383 

lalong the twenty-five mile front the Allies' infantry left the 
trenches and advanced to attack. 

In this opening stage of the battle the British aim was the 
German first position. The section selected for attack ran from 
north to south, covering Gommiecourt, passing east of Hebuterne 
and following the high ground before Serre and Beaumont- 
Hamel, crossed the Ancre northwest of Thiepval. From this 
point it stretched for about a mile and a quarter to the east of 
Albert. Passing south around Fricourt, it turned at right angles 
to the east, covering Mametz and Montauban. Midway between 
Maricourt and Hardecourt it turned south, covering Curlu, 
crossing the Somme at a marshy place near Vaux, and finally 
passed east of Frise, Dompierre, and Soyecourt, to leave east of 
Lihons the sector in which the Allied offensive was in progress 
which we are describing. 

The disposition of the British forces on the front of attack 
was as follows : The right wing of Sir Edmund Allenby*s Third 
Army and General Hunter-Weston's Eighth Corps lay opposite 
Gommecourt, and down to a point just south of Beaumont- 
Hamel. North of Ancre to Authuille was General Morland's 
Tenth Corps, and east of Albert General Pulteney's Third Corps, 
a division directed against La Boiselle, and another against 
Ovillers. Adjoining the French forces on the British right flank 
lay General Congreve's Thirteenth Corps. 

The Allies' attack was not unexpected by the Germans, and 
they were not entirely wrong as to the area in which the blow 
would be delivered. From Arras to Albert they had concentrated 
large forces of men and many guns, but south of Albert they were 
less strongly prepared. Their weakest point was south of the 
Somme, where the Allies had all the advantage. In recording 
the history of the day's fighting two separate actions must be 
described, in the north and in the south. The Allies failed in 
the first of these, but in the second they gained a substantial 
victory over the German hosts. The most desperate struggle of 
the day was fought between Gommecourt and Thiepval. 

Three of the British divisions in action here were from the 
New Army; one was a Territorial brigade and the two others 

Y— War St. 5 



384 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

had seen hard fighting in Flanders and Gallipoli. They con« 
fronted a series of strongly fortified villages — Gommecourt 
Serre, Beaumont-Hamel, and Thiepval — ^with underground caves, 
that could shelter whole battalions. A network of underground 
passages led to sheltered places to the rear of the fighting line, 
and deep pits had been dug in which, in time of bombardment, 
the machine guns could be hidden. The Germans had also direct 
observation from the rear of these strongholds, where their guns 
were massed in large numbers. 

Occupying such strong positions with every advantage in their 
favor, it is easy to understand why the British troops that at- 
tacked from Gommecourt to Thiepval failed to attain their 
objective. If the British bombardment had reached a high pitch 
of intensity on the morning of July 1, 1916, the German guns 
were no less active, and having the advantage of direct observa- 
tion, their explosive shells soon obliterated parts of the British 
front trenches, compelling the British to form up in the open 
ground. A hot barrage fire of shrapnel accurately directed fol- 
lowed the British troops as they advanced over no-man's-land. 
Into a very hell of shrapnel, high explosives, rifle and machine- 
gun fire they pushed on in ordered lines. Soon the devastating 
storm of German artillery fire cut great gaps in their formation, 
yet not a man hung back or wavered. And this destructive Ger- 
man fire, accurate and relentless, the British soldiers faced un- 
flinchingly from early dawn to high noon. Here and there fhe 
German position was penetrated by the more adventurous spirits, 
some detachments even forcing their way through it, but they 
could not hold their ground. The attack was checked every- 
where, and by evening what was left of the British troops from 
Gommecourt to Thiepval struggled back to their old line. 

The British had failed to win their objective, but the day had 
not been wholly wasted ; they had struck deep into the heart of 
the German defense and inspired in the enemy a wholesome 
respect for their fighting powers. In this stubborn attack nearly 
every English, Scotch, and Irish regiment was represented — a 
Newfoundland battalion, a little company of Rhodesians, as well 
as London and Midland Territorials — ^all of whom displayed high 



THE BRITISH ATTACK 385 

courage. Again and again the German position was pierced. 
Part of one British division broke through south of Beaumont- 
Hamel and penetrated to the Station road on the other side of the 
quarry, a desperate adventure that cost many lives. It was at 
Beaumont-Hamel, under the Hawthorne Redoubt, that exactly 
at 7.30 a. m., the hour of attack, the British exploded a mine 
which they had been excavating for seven months. It was the 
work of Lancashire miners, the largest mine constructed thus far 
in the campaign. It was a success. Half the village and acres of 
land spiiang into the air, blotting out for a time the light of the 
sun on the scene and hiding in a pall of dust and smoke the 
rapidly advancing British troops. 

In the day's fighting the Irish soldiers were especially dis- 
tinguished for many remarkable acts of bravery. The Royal 
Irish Fusiliers were the first to leave the trenches. To the north 
of Thiepval the Ulster Division broke through the German posi- 
tion at a point called "The Crucifix," holding for a time the 
formidable Schwaben Redoubt, and some even penetrated the 
outskirts of Gnandcourt. The Royal Irish Rifles swept over the 
German parapet^ and, assisted by the Inniskillings, cleared the 
trenches and destroyed the machine gunners. Through the 
enemy lines they swept, enfiladed on three sides, and losing so 
heavily that only a few escaped from the desperate venture. 
But the gallant remnant that struggled back to their own line 
took 600 prisoners, one trooper alone bringing in fifteen through 
the enemy's own barrage. 

The village of Fricourt, as will be seen by the map, forms a 
prominent salient, and the British command decided to cut it off 
by attacking on two sides. An advance was planned on the 
strongly fortified villages of Ovillers and La Boiselle. The 
British on the first day won the outskirts and carried all the 
intrenchments before them, but had not gained control of the 
ruins, though a part of a brigade had actually entered La Boiselle 
and held a portion of the place. To complete the operation of 
cutting off Fricourt it was necessary to carry Mametz on the 
south ; this accomplished, the forces would unite in the north at 
La Boiselle and Ovillers and, following the long depression 



386 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

popularly known as Sausage Valley toward Contalmaison, would 
be able to squeeze Fricourt so hard that it must be abandoned 
by the enemy. The British plans worked out successfully. A 
division that had been sorely punished at Loos and was now 
occupying a position west of Fricourt had now an opportunity 
to avenge its previous disaster. With grim determination to 
clean up the old score against the Germans, they advanced rapidly 
into the angle east of Sausage Valley, carrying two small woods 
and attacking Fricourt from the north and occupying a formi- 
dable position that threatened Fricourt. 

The strongly fortified village of Montauban fell early in the 
day of July 1, 1916. Reduced to ruins, it crowned a ridge below 
the position of the British lines in a hollow north of tiie Peronne 
road at Camoy. The British artillery had done effective work, 
and the attack on Montauban resulted in an easier victory than 
had been expected. The Sixth Bavarian Regiment which de- 
fended the place was said to have lost 3,000 out of the 8,500 who 
had entered the battle. Here for the first time in the campaign 
was witnessed the advance in line of the soldiers of Britain and 
France. 

It was a moving sight that thrilled and heartened all the 
combatants. The Twentieth Corps of the French army lay on 
the British right, while the Thirty-ninth Division under Gen- 
eral Nourisson marched in line with the khaki-clad Britons. 

Only after surveying the captured ground did the French and 
British realize what a seemingly impregnable stronghold had 
been won. Endless labor had been expended by the Germans not 
only in fortifying the place but in constructing dugouts that were 
well furnished and homelike. The best of these were papered, 
with linoleum on the floor, pictures on the wall, and contained 
bathrooms, electric lights and electric bells. There were also at 
convenient points bolt holes from which the occupants could 
escape in case of surprise. Some of the dugouts had two stories, 
the first being reached by a thirty-foot staircase. Another stair- 
way about as long communicated with the lower floor. Every 
preparation seemed to have been made for permanent occupation. 
The Germans ha4 good reasons fdr believing that their position 



THE FRENCH ATTACKS 387 

was impregnable. The utmost ingenuity had been employed to 
fortify every point. Carefully screened manholes used by the 
snipers were reached by long tunnels from the trenches. The 
most notable piece of military engineering was a heavily timbered 
communication trench 300 feet long, and of such a depth that 
those passing through it were safe from even the heaviest 
shells. 

Late in the afternoon Mametz fell, after it had been reduced 
to a group of ruined walls, above which rose a rough pile of 
broken masonry that represented the village church. The Ger- 
mans who occupied trench lines on the southern side had shat- 
tered the British trenches opposite Mametz so completely that 
the British infantry were forced to advance over open ground. 



CHAPTER L 



THE FRENCH ATTACKS NORTH AND 
SOUTH OF THE SOMME 

TjlROM the hamlet of Vaux, ruined by German artillery, on the 
■^ right bank of the Somme, part of the battle field, with the 
configuration of a long crest, looks like a foaming sea stretching 
away to the horizon. 

Against the whitish yellow background the woods resolve into 
dark patches and the quarries into vast geometric figures. In 
the valley the Somme zigzags among the poplars ; its marshy bed 
is covered with rushes and aquatic plants; on the left stand 
crumbled walls surrounding an orchard whose trees were shat- 
tered by German shells. This is the mill of Fargny through 
which the French line passes. A little beyond at a place called 
Chapeau-de-Gendarme was the first German trench, and farther 
still in the valley stands the village of Curlu, its surrounding 
gardens occupied by Bavarian troops. To the eastward, half 
hidden by the trees, a glimpse could be had of the walls of the 
village of Hem. In the distance a solitary church spire marked 



388 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

the site of P^ronne, a fortress surrounded by its moat of three 
streams. 

General Foch had planned his advance in the same methodical 
manner as the British command. At half past 7 on the morning 
of July 1, 1916, the French infantry dashed forward to assault 
the German trenches. During a period of nearly two years the 
Germans had been allowed leisure to strongly fortify their posi- 
tions. At different points there were two, three and four lines 
of trenches bounded by deep ditches, with the woods and the 
village of Curlu organized for defense. But the magnificent 
driving power of the French infantry carried all before it, and by 
a single dash they overran and captured the foremost German 
works. Mounting the steep ascent of the height that is called 
Chapeau-de-Gendarme the young soldiers of the class of 1916, 
who then and there received their baptism of fire, waved thein 
hats and handkerchiefs and shouted "Vive la France!" 

The French troops had reached the first houses of the village 
of Curlu occupied by Bavarian troops, who offered a most stub^ 
born resistance. Machine guns and mitrailleuses, which the 
French bombardment had not destroyed, appeared suddenly on 
the roofs of houses, in the ventholes of the cellars, and in every 
available opening. 

The French infantry, obedient to the orders they had received, 
at once stopped their advance and crouched on the ground while 
the French artillery recommenced a terrible bombardment of the 
village. In about half an hour most of the houses in the place 
had been razed to the ground, and the enemy guns were silenced. 
This time without pause the French infantry went forward and 
Curlu was captured without a single casualty. The Germans 
later attempted a counterattack, but the village remained in 
French hands. 

There were found in the ruined houses a large number of 
packages which had been put together by the Bavarians, con- 
sisting of articles of dress, pieces of furniture, household orna- 
ments, and a great variety of objects stolen from the inhabitants 
of the village. The sudden attack of the French troops did not 
allow the Bavarians time to escape with their loot. 



THE FRENCH ATTACKS 389 

During the three days that followed the French were entirely 
occupied with organizing and consolidating the positions they 
had conquered. 

At 7 a. m. on July 5, 1916, they began a fresh offensive. In 
a few hours' fighting the village of Hem and all the surrounding 
trenches had been captured. About noon the few houses in the 
village to which the Germans had clung tenaciously were 
evacuated. 

Thanks to the prudence of the French command and the wis- 
dom of their plans and the rapidity with which the attack had 
been carried out, the casualties were less than had been antici- 
pated and out of all proportion to the value of the conquered 
positions. 

While the French were thus forcing the pace and winning 
successes north of the Somme, their brothers in arms south of 
the river were carrying out some important operations with 
neatness and dispatch. 

In this area the French launched their attack on July 1, 1916, 
at 9.30 a. m., on a front of almost ten kilometers from the village 
of Frise to a point opposite the village of Estrees. 

Here it was that a Colonial corps that had especially dis- 
tinguished itself during the war delivered an assault that was 
entirely successful. The Germans were taken by surprise. The 
French captured German officers engaged in the act of shaving 
or making their toilet in the dugouts; whole battalions were 
rounded up, and all this was done with the minimum of loss. 
One French regiment had only two casualties, and the total for 
one division was 800. The villages of Dompierre, Becquincourt, 
and Bussu were in French hands before nightfall, and about five 
miles had been gouged out of the German front. Southward the 
Bretons of the Thirty-fifth Corps, splendid fighters all, had cap- 
tured Fay. Between them the Allies had captured on this day 
the enemy's first position without a break, a front of fourteen 
miles stretching from Mametz to Fay. They had taken about 
6,000 prisoners and a vast quantity of guns and military stores. 

On July 2, 1916, the French infantry attacked the village of 
Frise, and by noon the Germans were forced to evacuate the 



390 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

place. Here the French captured a battery of seventy-sevens 
which the enemy had not had time to destroy. Pushing rapidly 
on, the French took the wood of Mereaucourt. The village of 
Herbecourt, a little more to the south, was captured by the 
French after an hour's fighting. By early dark the entire group 
of German defenses was taken, thus linking Herbecourt to the 
village of Assevillers. 

Between this last place and the river they broke into the 
German second position. Fayolle's left now commanded the 
light railway from Combles to P^ronne, his center held the 
great loop of the Somme at Frise village, while his right was 
only four miles from P^ronne itself. 

During the day of July 3, 1916, the French continued their 
victorious advance, capturing Assevillers and Flaucourt. During 
the night their cavalry advanced as far as the village of Barleux, 
which was strongly held by the Germans. On the day following, 
July 4, 1916, the Foreign Legion of the Colonial Corps had taken 
Belloy-en-Santerre, a point in iihie third line. On July 5, 1916, the 
Thirty-fifth Corps occupied the greater part of Estrees and were 
only three miles distant from P^ronne. 

The Germans attempted several counterattacks, aided by their 
Seventeenth Division, which had been hurried to support, but 
these were futile, and finally the German railhead was moved 
from Peronne to Chaulnes. 

There followed a few days* pause, employed by the French in 
consolidating their gains and in minor operations. On the night 
of July 9, 1916, the French commander Fayolle took the village 
of Biaches, only a mile from Peronne. The German losses had 
been very great since the beginning of the French offensive, and 
at this place an entire regiment was destroyed. On July 10, 
1916, the French succeeded in reaching La Maisonette, the 
highest point in that part of the country, and held a front from 
there to Barleux — a position beyond the third German line. In 
this sector nothing now confronted Fayolle but the line of the 
upper Somme, south of the river. North of the stream some 
points in the second line had been won, but it had been only 
partly carried northward from Hem. 



THE FRENCH ATTACKS 391 

The French attacks north and south of the Somme had at al 
points won their objectives and something more. In less than 
two weeks Fayolle had, on a front ten miles long and having a 
maximum depth of six and a half miles, carried fifty square miles 
of territory, containing military works, trenches, and fortified 
villages. The French had also captured a large amount of booty 
which included 85 cannon, some of the largest size, 100 mitra- 
illeuses, 26 "Minenwerfer," and stores of ammunition and war 
material. They took prisoner 236 officers and 12,000 men. 

It might well be said that this was a very splendid result 
But it only marked the first stage in the French assault. 

The measured and sustained regularity of this advance, the 
precision and order of the entire maneuver, are deserving of a 
more detailed description. If we examine what might be called 
its strategic mechanism, it will be noted that south of the Somme 
the French line turned with its left on a pivot placed at its right 
in front of Estrees. 

The longer the battle continued the more this turning move- 
ment became accentuated. On July 3, 1916, the extreme left 
advanced from Mericourt to Buscourt, the left from Herbecourt 
to Flaucourt, which was taken, while the center occupied 
Assevillers. 

On the 4th the right, abandoning in its turn the role of fixed 
point, moved forward and took the two villages of Estrees and 
Belloy. Thus in the first four days of July, 1916, the French 
forces operating south of the Somme constantly marched with 
the left in advance. 

After a pause for rest and to consolidate positions won, the 
attack was again resumed by the left wing on the 9th, and car- 
ried before Peronne, Biaches, and La Maisonette. 

It will be seen by this outline of operations that the maneuver, 
which began early in an easterly direction, developed into a 
movement toward the south. The object as stated in the official 
communique was to clear the interior of the angle of the Somme 
and to cover the right of the French troops operating north of 
the river. This delicate maneuver involved great difficulty and 
risk, inasmuch as the French right flank became the target for 



392 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

an enfilading fire from the south. By consulting the map it will 
be seen that the artillery positions south of Villers direct an 
enfilading fire on the plateau of Flaucourt and points near by. 
The French General Staff showed keen foresight in parrying this 
danger by advancing the right at the proper moment. 

By these operations the French had reached the actual suburbs 
of the old fortified city of Peronne, occupying a strong strategic 
position above the angle made by the Somme between Bray 
and Ham. 

It is a natural and necessary road of passage for all armies 
coming from the north or south that want to cross the river. 
Blucher in his pursuit of the French armies after the Battle of 
Waterloo crossed the Somme exactly at this point. 

As a matter of fact at this time both adversaries were astride 
of the river, the Allies facing the east and the Germans facing 
toward the west. It is interesting to note that this is exactly 
the situation that prevailed in the war of 1870, but with the 
roles reversed. At that time the Germans were attacking 
Peronne as the French forces were attacking it in July, 1916; 
they came, however, from the direction of Amiens, precisely as 
the French came on this occasion. 

The French, on the other hand, were in the positions of the 
Germans — ^they came from the north. The army of Faidherbe 
had its bases at Lille and Cambrai as the Crown Prince of 
Bavaria had his in the present war. 



CHAPTER LI 

THE BRITISH ATTACK (CONTINUED) 

rpHE British captured the fortified villages of Mametz and 
-*- Montauban on July 1, 1916. This success, as will have been 
noted, put the British right wing well in advance of their center ; 
and to make the gap in the German position uniform over a 
broad enough front it was necessary to move forward the left 



THE BRITISH ATTACK (CONTINUED) 393 

part of the British line from Thiepval to Fricourt. At this timfe 
the extreme British left was inactive, in the circumstances it 
seemed doubtful that a new attack would be profitable, so what 
was left of the advanced guard of the Ulster Division retired 
from the Schwaben Redoubt to its original line. The front had 
now become too large for a single commander to manage success- 
fully, so to General Hubert Gough of the Reserve, or Fifth Army, 
was given the ground north of the Albert-Bapaume road, includ- 
ing the area of the Fourth and Eighth Corps. 

Sunday, July 2, 1916, was a day of steady heat and blinding 
dust, and the troops suffered severely. At Ovillers and La 
Boiaelle the Third Corps sustained all day long a desperate 
struggle. Two new divisions which had been brought forward to 
support now joined the fighting. One of these divisions success- 
fully carried the trenches before Ovillers and the other in the 
night penetrated the ruins of the village of La Boiselle. 

The Germans had evidently not recovered from their surprise 
in the south, for no counterattacks were attempted, nor had any 
reserve divisions been brought to their support. Throughout 
the long, stifling July day squadrons of Allied aeroplanes were 
industriously bombing depots and lines of communication back 
of the German front. The much-lauded Fokkers were flitting 
here and there, doing little damage. Two were sent to earth by 
Allied airmen before the day was over. The Allies had a great 
number of kite balloons ("sausages") in the air, but only one 
belonging to the Germans was in evidence. 

With the capture of Mametz and positions in Fricourt Wood 
to the east, Fricourt could not hold out, and about noon on July 
2, 1916, the place was in British hands. Evidently the Germans 
had anticipated the fall of the village, for a majority of the 
garrison had escaped during the night. But when the British 
entered the village, bombing their way from building to building, 
they captured Germans in suflficiently large nunxbers to make the 
victory profitable. 

On Monday, July 3, 1916, General von Below issued an order 
to his troops which showed that the German officers appreciated 
the seriousness of the Allied offensive : 



394 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 




^ tn 



THE BRITISH ATTACK (CONTINUED) 395 

"The decisive issue of the war depends on the victory of the 
Second Army on ttie Somme. We must win this battle in spite 
of the enemy's temporary superiority in artillery and infantry. 
The important ground lost in certain places will be recaptured 
by our attack after the arrival of reenforcements. The vital 
thing" is to hold on to our present positions at all costs and to 
improve them. I forbid the voluntary evacuation of trenches. 
The will to stand firm must be impressed on every man in the 
army. The enemy should have to carve his way over heaps of 
corpses. . . ." 

To understand the exact position of the British forces on July 
3, 1916, the alignment of the new front must be described in 
detail. 

The first section extended from Thiepval to Fricourt, be- 
tween which the Albert-Bapaume road ran in a straight line 
over the watershed. Thiepval, Ovillers, and La Boiselle were 
positions in the German front line. East of the last place the 
fortified village of Contalmaison occupied high ground, forming 
as it were a pivot in the German intermediate line covering their 
field guns. 

The British second position ran through Pozieres to the two 
Bazentins and as far as Guillemont. Thiepval and Ovillers had 
not yet been taken, and only a portion of La Boiselle, but the 
British had broken through the first position south of that place 
and had pushed well along on the road to Contalmaison. This 
northern section had been transformed by warfare into a scene 
of desolation, bare, and forbidding, seamed with trenches and 
pitted with shell holes. The few trees along the roads had been 
razed — ^the only vegetation to be seen being coarse grass and 
weeds and thistles. 

The southern section between Fricourt and Montauban pre- 
sented a more inviting prospect. A line of woods extended from 
the first village in a northeasterly direction, a second line run- 
ning from Montauban around Longueval. In this sector all the 
German first positions had been captured. The second position 
ran through a heavily wooded country and the villages of the 
Bazentins, Longueval, and Guillemont. 



396 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

During the night of July 2, 1916, the British had penetrated 
La Boiselle, and throughout the following day the battle raged 
around that place and Ovillers. The fighting was of the most 
desperate character, every foot of ground being contested by the 
opposing forces. The struggle seesawed back and forth, here 
and there the Germans gaining a little ground, only to lose it a 
little later when a vigorous British attack forced them to fall 
back, and so the tide of battle ebbed and flowed. 

On July 4, 1916, the heat wave was broken by violent thunder- 
storms and a heavy rain that transformed the dusty terrain into 
quagmires, through which Briton and German fought on with 
(undiminished spirit and equal valor. On the morning of July 5, 
1916, the British, after one of the bloodiest struggles in this 
sector, captured La Boiselle and carried forward their attack 
toward Bailiff Wood and Contalmaison. 

In the five days' fighting since they assumed the offensive the 
British had been hard hit at some points, but at others had 
registered substantial gains. They had captured a good part 
of the German first line and carried by assault strongly fortified 
villages defended stubbornly by valiant troops. The total num- 
ber of prisoners taken by the British was by this time more than 
6,000. These first engagements had for the British one exceed- 
ingly important result: it gave to the troops an absolute con- 
fidence in their fighting powers. They had shown successfully 
that they could measure themselves with the best soldiers of 
the kaiser and beat them. 

During the day of July 5, 1916, the British repulsed several 
counterattacks and fortified the ground that they had already 
won. On this date Horseshoe Trench, the main defense of 
Contalmaison from the west, was attacked, and here a battalion 
of West Yorks fought with distinction and succeeded in making 
a substantial advance. 

There was a pause in the fighting during the day of July 6, 
1916, as welcome to the Germans as to the British, for some rest 
was imperative. 

On Friday, July 7, 1916, the British began an attack on 
Contalmaison from Sausage Valley on the southwest, and from 



;THE BRITISH ATTACK (CONTINUED) 397 

the labyrinth of copses north of Fricourt through which ran the 
Contalmaison-Fricourt highroad. 

South of Thiepval there was a salient which the Germans had 
organized and strongly fortified during twenty months' prepara- 
tion. After a violent bombardment the British attacked and 
captured this formidable stronghold. More to the south they 
took German trenches on the outskirts of Ovillers. 

The attack ranged from the Leipzig Redoubt and the environs 
of Ovillers to the skirts of Contalmaison. After an intense 
bombardment the British infantry advanced on Contalmaison 
and on the right from two points of the wood. Behind them the 
German barrage fire, beating time methodically, entirely hid 
from view the attacking columns. 

By noon the British infantry, having carried Bailiff Wood by 
storm, captured the greater part of Contalmaison. There they 
found a small body of British soldiers belonging to the North- 
umberland Fusiliers who had been made prisoners by the Ger- 
mans a few days before and were penned up in a shelter in the 
village. The British were opposed by "die Third Prussian Guard 
Division — the famous "Cockchafers'* — ^who lost 700 men as pris- 
oners during the attack. In the afternoon of the same day, July 
7, 1916, the Germans delivered a strong counterattack, and the 
British, unable to secure reenforcements, and not strong enough 
to maintain the position, were forced out of the village, though 
able to keep hold of the southern comer. 

On the following day, July 8, 1916, the British struggled for 
the possession of Ovillers, now a conglomeration of shattered 
trencihes, shell holes and ruined walls. Every yard of ground 
was fought over with varying fortunes by the combatants. 
While this stubborn fight was under way the British were driving 
out the Germans from their fortified positions among the groves 
and copses around Contalmaison, and consolidating their gains. 

In the night of July 10, 1916, the British, advancing from 
Bailiff Wood on the west side of Contalmaison, pressed forward 
in four successive waves, their guns pouring a flood of shells 
before them, and breaking into the northwest comer, and after a 
desperate hand-to-hand conflict, during which prodigies of valor 



398 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

were performed on both sides, drove out the Germans and 
occupied the entire village. The victory had not been won with- 
out considerable cost in casualties. The British captured 189 
prisoners, including a commander of a battalion. 

Ovillers, where the most violent fighting had raged for some 
days, continued to hold out, though surrounded and cut off from 
all relief from the outside. Knowing this the German garrison 
still fought on, and it was not until July 16, 1916, that the 
brave remnant consisting of two officers and 124 guardsmen 
surrendered. 

We now turn to the British operations in the southern sector 
where they were trying to clear out the fortified woods that 
intervened between them and the German second line. 

On July 3, 1916, the ground east of Fricourt Wood was clear of 
Germans and the way opened to Mametz Wood. During the 
day the (Jermans attempted a counterattack, and incidentally 
the British enjoyed "a good time." A fresh German division 
had just arrived at Montauban, which received such a cruel 
welcome from the British guns that it must have depressed their 
fighting spirit. East of Mametz a battalion from the Champagne 
front appeared and was destroyed, or made prisoner, a short 
time after detraining at the railhead. The British took a thou- 
sand prisoners within a small area of this sector. An eyewitness 
describes seeing 600 German prisoners being led to the rear by 
three ragged soldiers of a Scotch regiment *'like pipers at the 
head of a battalion." 

The British entered the wood of Mametz to the north of 
Mametz village on July 4, 1916, and captured the wood of 
Bamafay. These positions were not carried without stiff fight- 
ing, for the Germans had fortified the woods in every conceivable 
manner. Machine-gun redoubts connected by hidden trenches 
were everywhere, even in the trees there were machine guns, 
while the thick bushes and dense undergrowth impeded every 
movement. In such a jungle the fighting was largely a matter of 
hand-to-hand conflicts. The German guns were well served, and 
every position won by the British was at once subjected to a 
heavy counterbombardment. Indeed from July 4, 1916, onward, 



THE BRITISH ATTACK (CONTINUED) 399 

there was scarcely any cessation to the German fire on the entire 
British front, and around Fricourt, Mametz, and Montauban in 
the background. 

On July 7, 1916, the British General Staff informed the French 
high command that they would make an attack on Trones Wood 
on the following morning, asking for their cooperation. Assisted 
by the flanking fire of the French guns, the British penetrated 
Trones Wood, and obtained a foothold there, seizing a line of 
trenches and capturing 130 prisoners and several mitrailleuses. 
On the same day the French on the British right were pushing 
forward toward Maltzhorn Farm. 

Trones Wood which for some days was to be the scene of the 
aottest fighting in the southern British sector, is triangular in 
[orm and about 1,400 meters in length, running north and south. 
Its southern side is about forty meters. The Germans directed 
against it a violent bombardment with shells of every caliber. 

Owing to its peculiar position every advantage was in favor 
of the defense. Maltzhorn Ridge commanded the southern part, 
and the German position at Longueval commanded the northern 
portion. The German second line in a semicircle extended around 
the wood north and east, and as the covert was heavy, organized 
movement was impossible while the German artillery had free 
play. 

The British, however, continued to advance slowly and 
stubbornly from the southern point where they had obtained a 
foothold, but it was not until the fire of the German guns had 
been diverted by pressure elsewhere that they were able to make 
any appreciable gains on their way northward. 

On July 9, 1916, at 8 o'clock the Germans launched desperate 
counterattacks directed from the east to the southeast. The first 
failed; the second succeeded in landing them in the southern 
part of the wood, but they were ultimately repulsed with heavy 
losses. During the night there was a fresh German attack 
strongly delivered that was broken by British fire. Of the six 
counterattacks delivered by the Germans between Sunday night 
and Monday afternoon, July 9-10, 1916, the last enabled them 
to gain some ground in the wood, but it was at a heavy cost. 

Z— War St. 5 



400 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

They did not long enjoy even this small success, for on Tuesday, 
July 11, 1916, the British had recaptured the entire wood except- 
ing* a small portion in the extreme northern comer. 

On the same date the British advanced to the' north end of 
Mametz Wood, and by evening of July 12, 1916, had captured 
virtually the whole of it, gathering in some hundreds of German 
prisoners in the operation. The place had not been easily won, 
for while the whole wood did not comprise more than two hun- 
dred acres or so, there was a perfect network of trenches and 
apparently miles of barbed-wire entanglements, while machine 
guns were everywhere. It was only after the British succeeded 
in clearing out maohine-gun positions on the north side, and 
enfiladed every advance, that they were able to get through the 
wood and to face at last the main German second position. This 
ran, as will have been noted, from Pozieres through the Bazentins 
and Longueval to Guillemont. The capture of Contalmaison was 
a necessary preliminary to the next stage of the British advance. 
After the fall of this place Sir Douglas Haig issued a summary 
of the first of the gains made by the Allies since the beginning 
of the offensive : 

"After ten days and nights of continuous fighting our troops 
have completed the methodical capture of the whole of the 
enemy's first system of defense on a front of 14,000 yards. This 
system of defense consisted of numerous and continuous lines of 
fire trenches, extending to various depths of from 2,000 to 4,000 
yards and included five strongly fortified villages, numerous 
heavily wired and intrenched woods, and a large number of im- 
mensely strong redoubts. The capture of each of these trenches 
represented an operation of some importance, and the whole of 
them are now in our hands." 

General Haig's summary of what had been accomplished in 
the first stage of the battle of the Somme was modest in its 
claims. The British had failed in the north from Thiepval to 
Gommecourt, but in the south they had cut their way through 
almost impregnable defenses and now occupied a strong position 
that promised well for the next offensive. At the close of the 
first phase of the battle the number of prisoners in the hands of 



BATTLE OF THE SOMME— SECOND PHASE 401 

the British had risen to 7,500. The French had captured 11,000. 
The vigor with which the offensive had been pushed by the Allies 
caused the Germans to bring forward the bulk of their reserves, 
but they were unable to check the advance and lost heavily. 



CHAPTER LII 



THE SECOND PHASE OF THE BATTLE 
OF THE SOMME 

BRITISH commanders are methodical and believe in preparing 
thoroughly before an attack, but they are ready at times to 
take a gambler's chance if the moment seems opportune to win 
by striking the enemy a sudden and unexpected blow. 

At half past three in the morning of July 14, 1916, the British 
started an attack with full Imowledge of the risk involved, but 
hoping to find the Germans poorly prepared. At Contalmaison 
Villa and Mametz Wood they held positions within a few hundred 
yards of the German line. It was the section from Bazentin-le- 
Grand and Longueval where the danger lay, for here there was 
a long advance to be made, as far as a mile in some places, up 
the slopes north of Caterpillar Valley. 

French officers are not inclined to err on the side of over- 
eaution, but on this occasion more than one of them expressed 
a doubt that the projected British attack would succeed. 

The 14th of July is a national holiday in France, the anni- 
versary of the fall of the Bastille. Paris was in gala attire, the 
scene of a great parade, such as that city had not witnessed in its 
varied history, when the Allied troops, Belgians, Russians, Brit- 
ish, and the blue-clad warriors of France, were reviewed by the 
President of the Republic amid the frantic acclamations of de- 
lighted crowds. On this day so dear to the heart of every French 
patriot the British troops in Picardy were dealing hammer blows 
to the German line with the rallying cry of "Vive la France" that 
made up in sincerity what it lacked in Parisian accent. 



402 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

The front selected for the British attack was a space of about 
four miles from a point southeast of Longueval, Pozieres to 
Longueval, and Delville Wood. The work cut out for the British 
right flank to perform was the clearing out of Trones Wood still 
partly occupied by the Germans. The two Bazentins, Longueval, 
and the wood of Delville were either sheltered by a wood, or 
there was one close by that was always a nest of cunningly 
hidden guns. More than a mile beyond the center of the German 
position, High Wood, locally known as Foumeaux, formed a dark 
wall in the background. 

The British had only consolidated their new line on the day 
before the attack of July 14, 1916, so every preparation was 
hurried at topmost speed. In the first hours of the morning they 
began a furious bombardment of the German positions. This 
was continued until 3.20 a. m., when the hurricane of fire abated. 
The Germans, as it developed later, were not expecting an as- 
sault, such bombardments being of frequent occurrence, a part 
of the day*s program intended to impress them, or to hide some 
stupid British strategy. 

At 3.25 a. m., when the day was breaking and a faint light 
covered the scene from a cloudy sky, the British infantry at- 
tacked. The Germans were so completely surprised that the 
battalions which were assigned to strike at the most distant 
points, hardly suffered a casualty before they were within a few 
hundred yards of the enemy's defensive wires. When the Ger- 
mans did awake to their danger and loosed their barrage fire, 
it fell to the rear of the attackers. 

Success crowned the British efforts at every point on the line 
of attack, though in such places where the German defenses had 
not been destroyed the advance was necessarily slow. It may be 
of interest to cite one instance to show how the British military 
machine worked on this important day in the history of the 
battle of the Somme. In one division there were two attacking 
brigades, each composed of two battalions of the New Army, and 
two of the old regulars. It might appear a hazardous experiment 
that the British command should have placed the four battalions 
of the New Army in the first line^ but the inexperienced troops 



BATTLE OF THE SOMME— SECOND PHASE 403 

justified the confidence that had been placed in them. They went 
forward with the dogged determination of old veterans, and 
shortly after noon had triumphantly carried out the work 
assigned to them. They had captured their part of the line and 
taken 662 unwounded men and 36 officers (among whom was a 
battalion commander), while the booty included four howitzers, 
four field guns, and fourteen machine guns and quantities of 
military stores. 

By nightfall the British had captured the whole of the German 
second line from Bazentin-le-Petit to Longueval, a f/ont of over 
three miles, and had netted over 2,000 prisoners. Many of these 
belonged to the Third Division of the German Guard, and in- 
cluded the commander of a regiment. The commander of the 
Ninety-first Bavarian Regiment was discovered by the British 
at the bottom of his dugout. 

One of the most striking incidents of the day occurred on the 
British right flank in Trones Wood. On the night of July 13, 
1916, an attack had been delivered there when 170 men belonging 
to the Royal West Kents were separated from their battalion. 
Having a few machine guns, and being well supplied with am- 
munition, they fortified one or more positions, and in spite of 
vigorous German attacks, were able to maintain their posts 
all night until the British advance in the morning gathered 
them in. 

It was a bit of good luck that these men had strayed away 
from their regiment, for the positions they had fortified now 
proved of great value in clearing the Germans out of the wood. 

One of the most picturesque episodes of the day's fighting was 
a brilliant cavalry charge. This was the first time since the 
battle of the Marne that the British had any opportunity to 
engage the enemy on horseback. The French, however, had em- 
ployed two squadrons in their offensive in Champagne in Sep- 
tember, 1915. 

A British division, pushing their way northward against the 
Tenth Bavarian Division, had penetrated the third German 
position at High Wood supported by cavalry — a troop of the 
Dragoon Guard and a. troop of Deccan Horse. The mounted 



404 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

men proceeded to show their mettle and to share in the fighting 
honors of the day. Beyond Bazentin-le-Grand on the valley 
slopes they found cover for a time in the growing corn. About 
eig'ht in the evening the cavalry set out on their last advance on 
foot and on horseback through the com, riding down the enemy, 
or cutting him down with lance and saber, and capturing a 
number of prisoners. Their rapid success had a heartening 
effect on the whole British line. Having reached their objective, 
the cavalry proceeded to intrench, in order to protect the British 
infantry that was advancing from High Wood. 

Throughout the day's fighting the British airmen had been 
constantly active despite the haze which hampered observation. 
In twenty-four hours they had destroyed four Fokkers, three 
biplanes, and a double-engined plane without the loss of a single 
British machine. 

On July 15, 1916, the British consolidated the new ground they 
had won, while their left advancing to the outskirfe of Pozieres 
attacked the Leipzig Redoubt, and renewed the struggle for 
Ovillers which had been fought over with scarcely any pause 
since July 7, 1916. Strong counterattacks by the German 
Seventh Division forced the British out of High Wood, or the 
greater portion of it, but the loss was not serious, the place hav- 
ing served its purpose as a screen for the British while con- 
solidating their line. 

Perhaps the fiercest struggle in this area was waged around 
Longueval and Delville Wood, which became popularly known by 
the soldiers as "Devil Wood." The struggle started there on 
the morning of July 14, 1916, and continued ahnost without pause 
for thirteen days. The losses on both sides reached a formid- 
able figure. 

A better situation for defense could not have been selected. 
Delville Wood presented a frightful jungle of shattered tree 
trunks and ragged bushes interspersed with shell holes. Thei-e 
were cuttings through it along which ranged the German 
trenches. Some seventy yards from the trees on the north and 
east sides the Germans had a strong trench that was crowded 
with machine guns, and the whole interior of the wood was 



BATTLE OF THE SOMME— SECOND PHASE 405 

incessantly bombarded. Longueval, a straggling village to the 
southwest of the wood, was a less troublesome problem. 

Brigadier General Lukin's South African Brigade, which had 
been ordered to clear the wood, succeeded in carrying it com- 
pletely about midday. 

Those brigades which had been assigned the task of capturing 
Longueval only gained a portion of it, and the Germans launch- 
ing a counterattack from the north end of the village, succeeded 
in forcing the British back. Lukin's Soutii Africans tried again 
on the 16th and 17th, but failed with heavy losses, hanging on 
stubbornly to the southern comer, where they were not relieved 
until the 20th. 

It was during the four days' fighting in and around Delville 
Wood that Lieutenant Colonel Thackera from the Transvaal, 
of the Third Battalion, with Scots of other formations, made a 
desperate and heroic defense. Without food or water the rem- 
nant clung to the position, undismayed even when the withering 
fire of the enemy had thinned their ranks and at last killed or 
wounded all the officers of one battalion. But even under these 
depressing conditions the spirit of those who remained had not 
weakened, and an attack subsequently made by Brandenburgers 
of the Fifth Division was repulsed with considerable losses. 

The splendid courage displayed by the British New Army dur- 
ing these days of intense fighting, and when all the odds were in 
favor of the enemy, had done much to sustain the courage of the 
British command and to offset the effect caused by heavy losses. 
The New Army for some days had been trying conclusions with 
the German Third Guard Division brought over from the Russian 
front in the spring, and considered by the kaiser as the very 
flower of his forces. This division included the Lehr Regiment, 
the Ninth Grenadiers, and the Guards Fusiliers. Their reputa- 
tion had preceded them, but the New Army were not disposed 
to take them overseriously, and fought against them with as 
grim determination as if they had been ordinary soldiers and not 
distinguished soldiers of the War Lord. The crack regiments 
fought in the main bravely, but the comparatively green troops 
of England made up in initiative and audacity what they lacked 



406 



THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 




BATTLE OF THE SOMME— SECOND PHASE 407 

in military experience, and were more than a match for them. 
Each of these famous German formations lost heavily. 

Ovillers which had been bravely defended for some days was 
finally captured by the British on July 16, 1916, thus clearing 
out the principal obstacle in the way of a general assault on 
Pozieres. On this day the British were also successful in taking 
Waterlot Farm, a.bout midway between Longueval and Guille- 
mont, which cut another slice out of the German front. For 
three days a heavy rain and low mists hindered the observation 
of the British airmen, who were unable to detect the positions of 
the new batteries they knew the enemy was setting up. The 
Germans had all the advantage, aa the British were now occupy- 
ing their old trench lines and they had the register. 

On July 20, 1916, the British Seventh Division attacked again 
at High Wood in the hopes of extending their situation at 
Longueval, which by this time was exposed to the enemy's 
attacks. They carried the entire wood, but a portion to the 
north, where the Eighth Division of the Fourth Magdeburg 
Corps were intrenched, and where for many weeks they defied 
every effort of the British to oust them. 

At this stage in the battle of the Somme the total of un- 
wounded prisoners captured by the British numbered 189 officers 
and 10,779 men. The German losses in guns included five 8-inch 
and three 6-inch howitzers, four 6-inch guns, five other heavies, 
thirty-seven field guns, sixty-six machine guns, and thirty trench 
mortars. 

No exact estimate of the German losses in dead and wounded 
could be made, but captured letters spoke of desperate conditions 
and of terrible slaughter. One German battalion was reduced 
to three officers and twenty-one men, and there was mention in 
these letters of several other formations which had broken down 
through exhaustion and retired from action. 

It was imperative now for the British to finish off ttieir capture 
Df the German second position and to prepare for a German 
attack which might develop at any moment. From ea«t of 
Pozieres to Delville Wood the enemy had lost their second linQ 



408 THE STORT OF THE GREAT WAR 

and were forced to construct a switch line to establish a connec- 
tion between the third position and an uncaptured point, such as 
Pozieres, in his second position. 

There was stubborn fig'hting among the orchards of Longueval 
and the outskirts of Delville, where the British made little head- 
way, but registered some gains. All their hopes were centered 
at this time on their chief objectives, Guillemont and Pozieres. 
The latter was especially important, for it formed a part of the 
plateau of Thiepval. If the British succeeded in gaining the 
crest of the ridge all the country to the east would come under 
direct observation. The most important points on the watershed 
were Mouquet Farm, between Thiepval and Pozieres, the Wind- 
mill east of the last place. High Wood, and the high ground that 
lay directly east of Longueval. It was important that the British 
should capture Guillemont in order to align the next advance 
with the French forces. This task presented many difficulties, 
for the advance from Trones Wood must be made over a bare 
and shelterless country that was under the Germans* direct 
observation from Leuze Wood. There was also a strongly forti- 
fied quarry on its western edge and a ravine to the south of it 
between Maltzhom and Falfemont Farms, while Angle Wood in 
the center was a German stronghold. 

The difficulties of the British position were summarized by Sir 
Douglas Haig: 

"The line of demarkation agreed upon by the French com- 
mander and myself ran from Maltzhorn Farm due eastward to 
the Com,bles Valley, and then northeastward up the valley to a 
point midway between Sailly-Saillisel and Morval. These two 
villages had been fixed upon as the objective respectively of the 
French left and my right. In order to advance in cooperation 
with my right and eventually to reach Sailly-Saillisel, our Allies 
had still to fight their way up that portion of the main ridge 
which lies between Combles Valley on the west and the river 
Tortille on the east. To do so they had in the first place to 
capture the strongly fortified villages of Maurepas, Le Forest, 
Rancourt, and Fregicourt, besides many woods and strong sys- 
tems of trenches. As the high ground on each side of the 



BATTLE OF THE SOMME—SECOND PHASE 409 

Combles Valley commands the slopes of the ridge on the opposite 
side, it was essential that the advance of the two armies should 
be simultaneous and made in the closest cooperation. '* 

The British made an attack on Guillemont from Trones Wood 
on July 19, 1916. It was a rainy, foggy day, that hampered 
military operations, and they failed to advance. 

On the day following the French made a general attack that 
achieved brilliant results. North of the Somme over a front of 
five kilometers from Ridge 139 (800 meters north of Harde- 
court) the French carried the first German trenches. They 
reached as far as the slope east of the height of Hardecouii;. 
Their line passed the boundary of Maurepas, and followed the 
highway from Maurepas to Feuillieres. South of the Somme 
they carried the whole of the German defense system from 
Barleux to Vermandovillers. During the two following days the 
British guns incessantly bombarded the entire German front. 
Two new corps had been joined with the Fifth Army, the Second 
and First Anzac, which occupied ground between the Ancre and 
south of the Albert-Bapaume road. 

On July 23, 1916, the British launched a strong attack over a 
wide front. The heaviest blows were centered on Pozieres and 
the Windmill on the left. The village was now a mass of rubble, 
but amid the ruins the Germans had fortified almost every yard 
of ground, there were deep and carefully prepared dugouts, cun- 
ningly concealed machine-gun emplacements, and lines of cov- 
ered trenches on every hand. 

The British forces began the movement about midnight, de- 
livering the assault from two sides. A division of Midland Terri- 
torials advanced from the southwest over the ground between 
Pozieres and Ovillers. About the same time an Anzac division 
advanced from the southeast. German defenses south of the 
village were rapidly cleared by the Midland "Terriers," who then 
occupied a line in the outskirts of the village extending toward 
Thiepval. 

To the Australian troops which had displayed such valor at 
Gallipoli was assigned the most difficult task in this assault, for 
there was first a sunken road heavily organized to capture whidi. 



410 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

ran parallel with the hig^hway, then a strong line of trenches, 
and finally the highway itself which ran through the center of 
the village in a direct line. 

The Australians gave a good account of themselves, and added 
to the reputation they had gained on many fields early in the 
war. They were of one opinion that they had never tackled a 
more dangerous job or come under a hotter fire than in this 
attack. It was only after intense fighting that they won the 
highway and established a line so near the enemy that only the 
width of the road separated them. Instances of personal bravery 
were many and a number of Victoria Crosses were awarded for 
especially heroic deeds, a few of which deserve special mention. 
Private Thomas Cooke, a machine gunner, continued to fire after 
all his companions had been killed and was found dead beside his 
gun. Second Lieutenant Blackburn having led four parties of 
bombers against a formidable enemy position, captured 250 yards 
of trench, then after crawling forward and reconnoitering re- 
turned and led his men to the capture of another long trench. 
Of all the Australians who won the V. C. on this day none was 
more deserving of the honor than Private John Leak. He was 
one of a party that had captured a strongly fortified place. 
Noticing that the German bombs were outranging the British he 
sprang from the trench and dashing forward under hot machine- 
gun fire at short range, after bombing the enemy's post, leaped 
in and bayoneted three German bombers. 

Private John Leak's bravery received special mention in the 
official report. *'His courage was amazing, and had such an 
effect on the enemy that, on the arrival of reenforcements, the 
whole trench was recaptured." 

The battle continued almost without pause, and by evening of 
July 24, 1916, the British had captured the greater part of 
Pozieres. In the morning of the following day the entire place 
was in their hands. The Midland Territorials having taken two 
lines of trenches, linked up with the Australians at the north 
comer of the village, where they established themselves in a 
cemetery. As the Germans still held the Windmill on much 
higher ground, they had good observation, and made the most 



BATTLE OF THE SOMME—SECOND PHASE 411 

of it, bombarding the British position unceasingly until it seerned 
smothered in smoke and fire. It seemed incredible that anything 
could live in such a zone of death. 

Captain C. W. Bean, who was with the Australians, has re- 
corded his impressions of the German bombardment in a few 
graphic lines. 

*^Hour after hour, day and night, with increasing intensity as 
the time went on, the enemy rained heavy shell into the area. 
Now he would send them crashing in on a line south of the road 
— eight heavy shells at a time, minute after minute followed by 
a burst of shrapnel. Now he would place a curtain straight 
across this valley or that till the sky and landscape were blotted 
out. . . . Day and night the men worked through it, fighting 
the horrid machinery far over the horizon as if they were fight- 
ing Germans hand to hand, building up whatever it battered 
down, burying some of them, not once, but again and again and 
again. What is a barrage against such troops? They went 
through it as you would go through a summer shower, too proud 
to bend their heads, many of them, because their mates were 
looking. As one of the best of their officers said to me : 'I have 
to walk about as if I liked it; what else can you do when your 
own men teach you to ?' '' 



PART IX— THE WAR IN THE AIR 



CHAPTER LIII 

'SUE VALUE OF ZEPPELINS IN LONG-DIS- 
TANCE RECONNOITERING — NAVAL 
AUXILIARIES 

THE growing intensity and fierceness of the gigantic struggle 
between the great nations of the world in the second half of 
the second year naturally was reflected in the extraordinary activi- 
ties of the aerial fleets of the combatants. To give in detail the 
thousands of individual and mass attacks is manifestly impossible 
in a restricted work of this kind, and we shall have to be satisfied 
with a description of the more important events in this latest of 
all warfares. 

Undoubtedly the most pronounced feature of aerial combat in 
1916 was the complete rehabilitation of the Zeppelin type of rigid 
airship construction as an invaluable aid to the land and naval 
forces in the difficult and dangerous task of reconnoitering the 
enemy forces. There can be no doubt that the frequent raids of 
the eastern counties of Great Britain were undertaken far more 
with the idea of gaining as clear an idea as possible of the distri- 
bution of British naval units in the North Sea than with the de- 
sire of hurling destruction from the sky upon sleeping villages, 
towns, and, of course, harbors and factories which might be of 
value to the British military forces. And there also can be no 
doubt that for this purpose of reconnoitering over immense areas 
the Zeppelin airship stands to-day unchallenged by any other 
single means at the disposal of the army leaders. 

The German Zeppelin airship carries at present a powerful 
wireless-sending apparatus, the electric current for which is fur- 

412 



THE VALUE OF ZEPPELINS 413 

nished by one of the motors. These motors, five in number, are of 
the six-cylinder Mercedes type, furnishing a total of 1,200 horse- 
power. Four of the motors are usually in service, the fifth being 
held in reserve, and used in the meantime for furnishing the re' 
quired electric current. The wireless equipment is stated to have 
an effective range of about 300 miles, due mainly to the great 
height of the "sending station." It was this wireless equipment 
which is now known to have precipitated the great naval battle 
off the Jutland coast, and to have sent the German fleet to its 
home base before the full force of the much superior British fleet 
had a chance to exercise its crushing power. 

According to the report of the captain of one of the German 
battle cruisers, the Zeppelins, of which there were two in the 
early hours of the battle, sighted a strong British naval force in 
the North Sea, about two-thirds of the way from the British coast 
to Helgoland. The information was flashed to Helgoland by the 
leading Zeppelin, which was hovering more than two miles in the 
air, commanding an immense area of the North Sea. The ap- 
proach of the German fleet was unknown to the British, although 
the Zeppelins could distinguish both fleets from their great 
height. 

As the battle developed and the British battle cruiser squad- 
ron became sorely pressed by the superior forces opposed to 
them, calls for assistance were flashed from them to the main 
fleet. The Zeppelins, of course, caught the calls and set off at 
high speed northward with the intention of giving timely warning 
to the German squadron battling several thousand feet below 
them against the gradually increasing British force. 

The mist which hung over the North Sea made it difficult for 
the Zeppelin commanders to distinguish objects clearly, but the 
same mist prevented the British ship crews from sighting the air- 
ships in the clouds. When the heavy black smoke from the battle- 
ships rushing south at their highest speed was sighted by the 
northernmost Zeppelin, word of the apparent strength of the re- 
enforcements was flashed to the German commander in chief and 
the order for retreat was given. While the fleets executed their 
maneuvers, the British main forces arrived and the greatest battle 



414 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

in naval history took place. Had it not been for the timely warn« 
ing from the Zeppelins hanging high in the air above the sea, the 
German fleet might have been overwhelmed by the huge forces 
rushing south to destroy it. Outnumbered by more than two to 
one, its only safety lay in retreat — and so hea\T had been the fire, 
that the British commander did not press the pursuit too close. 
For while the Germans knew to a ship the strength of their ad- 
versary, the latter had to reckon with the unknown, hidden possi- 
bilities of forces not yet seen. It cannot be denied that the 
Jutland naval battle was a complete vindication of the use of 
Zeppelins as naval scouts, a value now recognized by every naval 
officer in the world. 

The second field of action in which the Zeppelin airship has 
shown a certain measure of success is that of destroying small 
naval units of the enemy. And not only the German airships 
have had occasion to show their value, but the French have been 
especially successful in this work. For several months previous 
to February, 1916, little had been heard of the activities of the 
new French dirigibles, which were reported to have been built, al- 
though a number of them were continually cruising high in the 
air above Paris and in the district north of the capital. Oc- 
casionally hints were dropped here and there concerning their 
activity above the Channel and portions of the North Sea, and in 
the early summer a fairly substantial report reached this country 
to the effect that the new French lighter-than-air machines were 
Utilized chiefly in "submarine hunting." 

In the early stages of the war, when military and naval aviation 
was trying to adopt peace-time theories to war-time facts, Great 
Britain attempted to hunt the German submarines with aero- 
planes, or hydroaeroplanes ; but the method had its serious draw- 
backs. The aeroplane is of necessity a fast traveling machine ; it 
must make at least forty miles an hour to be able to stay aloft. 
Whizzing through the air at such speed is not conducive to a 
careful scrutiny of the surface of the water below, necessary in 
order to detect the vague, dim outlines of a submerged submarine. 
At first the pilots of naval aeroplanes had considerable success in 
locating the submarines, and Germany lost quite a few of them. 



THE VALUE OF ZEPPELINS 415 

before the reason was discovered. Some one in Great Britain 
announced that it was easy to locate a submarine from an aero- 
plane by the peculiar reflection in the sunlight caused by the fine 
film of lubricating oil on the surface of the water. As soon as 
this "tip" was communicated to Germany, submarines discon- 
tinued the use of oil for lubrication, employing instead defloccu- 
lated graphite. The fuel oil used in the Diesel engines for 
propulsion on the surface is so thoroughly consumed and the 
exhaust now is so free of oil that an oil film as an indication of 
submarine proximity is no longer trustworthy. Besides, the sub- 
merged boat might be a friendly one, a fact which was borne upon 
the British authorities on two separate occasions when scouting 
aeroplanes reported submarines near, and speedy motor boats 
rushed to the attack. In one case the British submarine is re- 
iported to have been rammed, and in the other — so the story goes — 
the commander of the submarine liberated a little buoy attached 
to the outside of the boat, which rose to the surface and informed 
the watchers above that "a friend is down below — ^not an 
enemy!" 

The system followed now in the locating and possible destruc- 
tion of German submarines in the Channel and North Sea by 
French dirigibles is as follows: The airships, chiefly of the 
Astra type, travel at a height of not more than 500 feet above 
the surface of the ocean, while the observers constantly sweep 
the water within a radius of half a mile with their glasses. 
Usually the airships are sent ahead at low speed in spirals, or in 
a series of curves which enable them to cover every square mile 
of watery area below. As soon as one of these airships sights a 
submarine traveling submerged, it flashes the news by wireless to 
destroyers which at the time may be fifty or more miles away, 
and in the meantime endeavors to remain directly above the sub- 
merged boat. Soon the destroyers arrive and, following the 
direction of the airship, can ram or sink the submarine with 
almost certain success. The French admiralty claims to have 
accounted for a number of submarines by this method, but has 
found that the scheme no longer will work. The German naval 
iepartment, learning of the airship patrol, has given its sub- 

AA— War St. 5 



416 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

marine commanders orders to travel at great depth during day- 
light hours in the Channel and the southwestern section of the 
North Sea, or to go to sleep on the bottom where the sea is too 
shallow. In the evening the boat makes its escape from the 
dangerous neighborhood. 

The third field of action of airships — devastating hostile coun- 
tries — is the least valuable, although perhaps the most spectacular 
of the activities of airships of the Zeppelin type. The damage 
caused by the numerous Zeppelin raids over England, for in- 
stance, is a subject of so much dispute that a true appreciation of 
their value cannot be formed at present. While the German 
official bulletins repeatedly declare that great material damage 
was done by the bombs to military establishments, factories, har- 
bor works, etc., the British statements dwell more upon the num- 
ber of noncombatants who were killed, and deny the infliction of 
any material damage. 

Information of this kind is considered legitimate secrecy and 
it is only when files of the British local and trade papers are 
examined that an inkling of the real damage is obtained. Fires, 
boiler explosions, railway traffic suspensions, and similar highly 
suggestive items fill the columns of the papers, after every one 
of the Zeppelin raids. On only one occasion, February 2, 1916, 
has the British War Office admitted serious military damage in 
its official communication. This communication was issued after 
exaggerated reports of the damage caused had appeared in the 
German and neutral press, covering the Zeppelin raids of January 
30-31, 1916, and February 1, 1916, and admitted officially the fol- 
lowing: Bombs dropped totaled 393; buildings destroyed: three 
railway sheds, three breweries, one tube factory, one lamp factory, 
one blacksmith shop ; damaged by explosions : one munition fac- 
tory, two iron works, a crane factory, a harness factory, railway 
grain shed, colliery and a pumping station. "One of the spec- 
tacular incidents of this raid was the chase of an express train 
by the Zeppelin, the train rushing at its utmost speed of seventy 
miles an hour into a tunnel, disappearing just as the first bombs 
began to drop. The train remained in the tunnel for more than 
an hour, waiting for the Zeppelin to fly awayl" The official 



THE VALUE OF ZEPPELINS 41T 

fig^ures of killed and wounded in this raid are given m sixty-seven 
killed, and 117 injured. 

During the month of July, reports of the new German super- 
Zeppelins began to appear in British reports, and a number of 
neutral correspondents endeavored to obtain authentic data con- 
cerning them. Conflicting descriptions arrived from many 
sources, and it was not until a Swiss reporter, equipped with 
extremely powerful glasses, watched the trial flights of two of 
these super-Zeppelins above Lake Constance, that fairly reliable 
information could be compiled. 

One of these airships leaves Friedrichshafen every week for 
duty in the North Sea, and the factory on the shore of Lake Con- 
stance expects to be able to complete five machines every month 
after July, 1916. The super-Zeppelin has two armored gondolas, 
without a visible connection, although it is highly probable that 
such communication is provided for within the outer envelope. 
Each gondola carries six machine guns and, in addition, two 
quick-firing guns, as well as an aerial torpedo-launching device, 
which was first used in the extensive air raids on England in the 
last week of July. 

The super-Zeppelin contains approximately 1,000,000 cubic 
feet of gas and has a capacity of ten tons useful load. Of this 
load, about four tons can be composed of bombs or other muni- 
tions, the remainder being needed for fuel, machinery, and the 
crew, as well as ballast and provisions. The gross weight of 
a fully equipped and loaded super-Zeppelin is thirty tons, or 
roughly, 60,000 pounds. The envelope, which heretofore has been 
painted gray with liquid aluminum paint, now is impregnated 
thoroughly with finely divided metal, by means of the Schoop 
metal-coating process, which is heralded as one of the most far- 
reaching improvements in aerial navigation. By its means the 
airship envelope is made absolutely impervious to atmospheric 
influences. 

For its protection against antiaircraft fire the new super-Zep- 
pelins carry apparatus in each gondola, producing artificial clouds 
of such size and intensity as to envelop and shroud completely the 
9ntire airship, rendering it absolutely invisible from below. 



418 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

While this cloud expands and gradually grows thinner, the air- 
ship rises rapidly in a vertical direction, speeding away while 
under protection of the self-made clouds. 

The motors of the latest Zeppelins weigh only 595 pounds 
each, although developing 240 horsepower, which means that 
one horsepower is developed for every three and three-quarter 
pounds of metal used. They are fitted with twin pumps, double 
jet carburetors, and are usually operated on mixtures consisting 
of one part benzol with one part alcohol. 



CHAPTER LIV 



AEROPLANE IMPROVEMENTS — GIANT 

MACHINES — TECHNICAL 

DEVELOPMENTS 

THE experience gathered in the first eighteen months of the 
war by the aviators of the hostile armies has done more for 
the development of aeroplanes than many years of peaceful im- 
provements could possibly have accomplished. The ever increas- 
ing size, power and stability of the heavier-than-air machine 
is plainly shown in the latest types of battle planes, in which a 
spread of wings exceeding seventy-five feet is no longer a nov- 
elty. True, the heralded approach of the gigantic German battle 
triplanes did not take place in the second year of the Great War, 
although it is an incontrovertible fact that such machines have 
been built and are being used for some purpose. But none of 
them took part in the fighting on the western front, nor has one 
of them been seen on the Russian battle lines. There is reason 
to believe, however, that these planes are used in naval recon- 
noitering, and their great size permits of the carrying of large 
supplies of fuel, giving them a great cruising radius. Reports 
from steamers plying the Baltic state that gigantic aeroplanes 
have been sighted high up in the air by captains and officers on 
Swedish and Danish ships, seemingly maintaining a careful 



AEROPLANE IMPROVEMENTS 419( 

patrol of that sea against possible Russian and British naval 
exploits. 

There have been numerous unconfirmed reports concerning 
the use of cellon, sl tough and yet completely transparent mate- 
rial, in the construction of aeroplanes on the German side, and oc- 
casional hints of new "invisible'' machines were dropped now and 
then. The reports probably are based on some foundation of fact, 
but there is little to show that cellon is used to any large extent 
by the Teuton forces. Samples of the material reached New 
York late in 1915, but the actual uses to which it was put were 
not known at the time. 

The tendency in recent months, especially on the western battle 
front, has been the "attack in squadrons," instead of the individ- 
ual combats which made international heroes out of Boillot, Im- 
melmann, Boelke, Wamef ord and Navarre. The squadron attack 
was first employed by the Germans in the Verdun operations. 
Previous to that time, only bombing expeditions had been under- 
taken en masse, as many as sixty aeroplanes taking part in a 
single attack. But actual aerial combat usually engaged only two 
or four aviators. 

Early in February of the second year of the war, several fa- 
mous French aviators fell victims to the new mode of warfare. 
It seems that as soon as a machine would appear above the 
trenches in that section, six or more German machines would rise 
quickly and surround the Frenchman. Outnumbered and sur- 
rounded on all sides the French machines rarely got back safely 
to their lines, among the first to be lost being George Boillot, 
world-famous as an automobile racer. 

The German tactics at once were imitated and improved on by 
the allied forces, and by July, 1916, the French had perfected 
a system of defense which, paradoxically speaking, may be 
termed "air-tight." French aviation squadrons would be held in 
readiness at all times to repel attacks, and twenty machines 
usually were considered a "unit." At first sign of a hostile aero- 
plane approaching, ten French machines would rise at top speed 
to a height of 10,000 feet, while five minutes later the second 
ten would follow, rising to 5,000 feet. The attacking machine 



420 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

usually would be found at a height intermediate between the 
upper and lower French squadrons, both of which would attack 
the invader vigorously, and with highly satisfactory results. 

One of the lessons of these true aerial battles between opposing 
squadrons has been the efficiency of the biplane, as compared 
with that of the monoplane. When the war started the mono- 
plane was considered the machine par excellence for war use; 
its high speed and quick maneuvering being cited as most import- 
ant for fighting in the air. Eighteen months of aerial battles 
have shown that for all-round fighting, bombing and reconnoi- 
tering the biplane is far more effective, and the construction of 
new monoplanes has been practically abandoned by the allied 
governments. The Germans, it is true, have found the Fokker 
type of monoplane a very efficient one, but the number of Fokkers 
in use is comparatively small, when the great fleets of Aviatiks 
and other well-known types of German biplanes are remembered. 

Exact statistics regarding the number of aeroplanes at present 
in use along the various battle fronts are not available, but esti- 
mates made by aviation officers, by correspondents and from notes 
in the respective publications devoted to aviation abroad, fix it 
as in excess of 12,000 machines. More than half of these are 
used by the Allies on the western front; Germany is credited 
with 3,000 aeroplanes, Russia with about 1,000, Austria with 
1,500, and Bulgaria and Turkey with 500. In a statement made 
in the British House of Commons, Mr. Tennant, speaking of the 
Royal British Flying Corps, declared that 835 officers and 521 
civilians were on the waiting list of the Flying Corps in the last 
week of February, 1916. 

France has definitely discontinued the use of monoplanes and is 
manufacturing them solely for the British forces, as some of the 
British aviators greatly prefer the monoplane. One of the 
reasons given by the French for their action is the construction 
of Fokker monoplanes by the Germans, which are so accurate a 
copy of the earlier Morane monoplanes of the French that they 
could not be distinguished from them in the air. Furthermore, 
the German copy of the Morane was far speedier and could 
easily outdistance or overtake the French machines of the same 



AEROPLANE IMPROVEMENTS 421 

type. In place of the original Morane France now has three 
types of speed planes, the Maurice Farman, a 110 mph. biplane, 
the Morane-Saulnier, lllmph., and Spad, 107 mph. The older 
Nieuports, too, are fast machines, being capable of more than 
100 miles per hour. 

The new Maurice Farman speed plane is a biplane of small 
wing area, the upper plane overhanging the lower. It is equipped 
with a new type of Renault-Mercedes eight-cylinder motor, 
giving 240 horsepower at the highest crank shaft speed. The 
Morane-Saulnier and the Spad are both monoplanes, but of dif- 
ferent shape and construction from the original Morane; it is of, 
the so-called monocoque type, made familiar to Americans by the 
Duperdessin monocoques which took part in the Gordon Bennett 
Cup race in Chicago in 1912. It is equipped with a device which 
was first used in Germany and which permits the firing of the 
gun through the propeller. It is an electric synchronizing device 
which fires the gun at the exact moment when the bullet will 
pass between the propeller blades. 

Following the destructive raids of the German naval Zeppelins 
over the eastern counties of England during the last days of 
January, 1916, there came a period of retaliation flights by Allied 
aviators over German cities, attacks on railway stations and 
munition depots, culminating in the great attack of the coast 
of Schleswig-Holstein by a fleet of British aeroplanes. On a 
certain section of this coast the Germans have erected a series 
of Zeppelin hangars behind one of the most elaborate systems of 
defenses known at present. According to information which had 
reached the British admiralty, the German coast north of the 
Kiel Canal is protected at intervals by the most powerful anti- 
aircraft artillery, including 4.1-inch guns, capable of firing 
thirty-five pound shells to a height of 26,000 feet at the rate of 
ten every minute. The risk which the British sea planes under- 
went was great, but there seems to have been no hesitation on the 
part of the aviators to fly to the attack. 

Early in the morning of March 25, 1916, two sea-plane "mother 
ships," accompanied by a squadron of eight protected cruisers 
and fast destroyers under the command of Commodore Tyrwhitt, 



422 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

started from the east coast of England. When about fifty miles 
from Schleswig-Holstein five sea planes and one ''battle 
aeroplane" (according to the German version of the attack) rose 
from the mother ships and flew toward shore. What happened 
during the next two hours is still a matter of doubt. Only two 
of the machines returned from the invasion, torn and riddled 
with bullets and shrapnel, reporting the most terrific shell fire 
from batteries of antiaircraft guns. The aviators declared, how- 
ever, that they "successfully bombarded the airship shedg." 
The subsequent German report denied the claim, stating that 
none of the machines succeeded in even reaching the Zeppelin 
stations, which were several miles inland. Three of the sea planee 
were shot down by the German guns, and the aviators were made 
prisoners. It was a gallant attempt against heavy odds on the 
part of the British Flying Corps, and its failure probably was 
due to the small number of machines employed. If fifty or sixty 
machines had taken part in the attack, ten or twelve might 
have been lost, but the others would probably have been able to 
reach the sheds and do great damage to the Zeppelins stationed 
there. 

It was from the same sheds that three days later the Zeppelins 
arose for their tremendous raids of England, during the week 
of March 30 to April 4, 1916, as many as seven of the airships 
appearing over the British Isles at the same time. During this 
series of raids London was visited by one of the airship squad- 
rons, the visit resulting in twenty-eight deaths and forty-four 
injuries. Another squadron turned northward and dropped 
bombs on Stowmarket, Lowestoft, and Cambridge^ while a third 
section of the air fleet attacked the northeast coast. One of the 
attacking air cruisers was hit by gunfire, as well as by bombs 
thrown from an aeroplane piloted by Lieutenant Brandon to a 
height of several hundred feet above the Zeppelin. This ship, 
believed to be the L-15, was so severely damaged that it was 
forced to descend in the mouth of the Thames, after dropping 
overboard portions of its machinery, gu'n, ammunition, and 
gasoline tank. The loss of the airship was admitted by the 
German admiralty in a statement issued on April 2, 1916, which 



AEROPLANE IMPROVEMENTS 423 

said : "In spite of violent bombardment all the airships returned, 
with the exception of Lr-15, which, according to report, was com- 
pelled to descend in the waters of the Thames River. Searches 
instituted by our naval forces have, up to the present, not been 
productive of any result/' 

Zeppelin raids followed each other in quick succession, no less 
than forty having been chronicled by July 31, 1916. They be- 
came so common, in fact, that the people of England lost much 
of their first terror and began to view the spectacle of a bom- 
bardment from the air as something that was quite "interesting*' 
to watch ! How great the damage caused to manufacturing and 
to railroads and shipping has been in the course of these two- 
score air raids is something that the British censor has 
jealously guarded. That such damage has been done is but 
natural, for tons of explosives cannot be hurled from heights 
of two miles upon a thickly populated district without doing con- 
siderable harm. In one case, it is known, the first bomb dropped 
upon the power house of the manufacturing town which was 
attacked, and put the entire electric power and light supply out 
of business for a week. 

Another Zeppelin raid, in which the attacking squadron suf- 
fered the loss of an airship, took place on February 22, 1916, in 
the neighborhood of Verdun. The Zeppelin L-77y one of the 
largest and latest of the German air fleet, crossed the French 
battle lines at a height of about 2,500 yards, when it was picked 
up by searchlights stationed in the rear. A violent bombard- 
ment immediately began and one of the exploding shells damaged 
the motor of the rear gondola. The speed of the Zeppelin was 
reduced by the failure of the motor, and one of the new French 
incendiary shells struck the gas bag near its center, causing a 
violent explosion. The two ends of the big gas bag dropped and 
as the gondolas hit the ground the entire load of bombs exploded, 
tearing the ship and its crew to shreds. Two other Zeppelins, 
flying at greater height, about ten miles to the north of the 
scene of the accident, watched the destruction and then con- 
tinued inland over the French positions, dropping bombs for more 
than an hour. They returned undamaged to the German lines. 



424 THE STORY OF. THE GREAT WAR 

Still another Zeppelin, L-IO, was lost in the North Sea, on 
February 2, 1916, wihile returning from an "invasion" of Eng- 
land. Hit by gunfire from the British antiaircraft batteries — 
or by the Dutch, as some reports have it, for crossing over 
Dutch territory — ^the L-19 gradually dropped lower and lower 
until it floated on the surface of the sea. The British trawler, 
King Stephen, appeared and the crew of the Zeppelin asked to 
be taken off, and offered to surrender. The captain of the 
trawler frankly declared that he would not take the chance of 
rescuing twenty-eight well-armed German sailors, as his own 
crew only amounted to nine men, unarmed. He steamed away, 
leaving the Zeppelin crew to drown. When destroyers of the 
British fleet appeared later on, guided to the spot by the trawler 
captain's report, the Zeppelin and its crew had vanished. 



CHAPTER LV 



LOSSES AND CASUALTIES IN AERIAL WARFARE 

— DISCREPANCIES IN OFFICIAL REPORTS — 

"DRIVEN DOWN" AND "DESTROYED" 

TO tabulate or chronicle accurately the losses and casualties 
suffered by the various armies in their aerial warfare is ab- 
solutely impossible. Not so much because of censorship or se- 
crecy, but because of the fact that when an aeroplane is "driven 
dow;n" by the French behind the German lines, it cannot be 
said that this aeroplane is actually destroyed or even damaged, 
or that its pilot has received a wound. Similarly when Ger- 
man machines attack and force a French or British machine to 
descend swiftly behind its own lines. The reporting of machines 
"driven down" among those "destroyed" is the cause of all the 
discrepancies between the official reports of the contending 
forces. 

The following figures have been gathered with the greatest 
care from the British "Roll of Honor," covering the killed, miss- 



CASUALTIES IN AERIAL WARFARE 425 

ing and wounded members of the Royal British Flying Corps. 
They are for the month of February, 1916, a month of com- 
parative quiet, and there can be no doubt that proportionately 
larger casualty lists could be compiled from the more active 
months of the summer of 1916. The first week of February 
resulted in nine officers killed, one wounded, and five "missing" ; 
two noncommissioned officers were also reported "missing." The 
second week six officers were killed, two wounded, while one 
noncommissioned officer was killed and another wounded. During 
the third week three flight lieutenants were killed, five wounded, 
and two captured by the enemy, while eight noncommissioned 
officers were wounded. In the last week of the month there were 
three officers killed, five wounded, and six "missing," while 
three noncommissioned men were listed as killed. The total 
losses for the month on the short battle line held by the British 
forces were therefore: twenty-one officers killed, thirteen 
wounded, and thirteen missing; fifteen noncommissioned officers 
killed or wounded. The losses among German aviators, taken 
from the regularly published casualty lists issued by the German 
Government, were twenty-four killed, and eleven wounded, dur- 
ing the month of January. 

The casualty lists become a deep mystery when compared 
with the losses of machines admitted by the respective war 
departments. During the month of February, for instance, the 
British announced the loss of six aeroplanes — yet the casualty 
lists showed a loss of sixty-two officers and men! During the 
same month the French lost six machines, the Germans eight, the 
Russians three, Austria one, and Italy one. 

Statistics for the four months from April to July, 1916, gath- 
ered from the periodical press of Great Britain and Germany, 
and probably far more accurate than the occasional "estimates" 
made by the war departments themselves, show the following 
losses in officers killed in aerial combats : 
April — British 18, French 15, Russian 7, Italian 3; German 16, 

Austrian 3, Turkish 1, Bulgarian 0. 
May — British 16, French 11, Russian 5, ItaHan 4; German 10, 

Austrian 5, Turkish 0, Bulgarian 0. 



426 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

June — British 19, French 10, Russian 11, Italian 3; German 8, 

Austrian 6, Turkish 1, Bulgarian 0. 
July — British 15, French 15, Russian 13, ItaHan 5; German 16, 

Austrian 8, Turkish 0, Bulgarian 1. 

Total losses in aviation officers : Allies, 170 ; Central Powers, 
75. 

A cursory examination of the records of aerial combats on 
the western battle front shows an average of eighteen combats 
daily; on some days there were as many as forty distinct aerial 
battles, while on others, in blinding snow and rainstorms no ma- 
chines were aloft. In the 3,000-odd duels in the air, the Franco- 
American Flying Corps began to take a prominent part early 
in the spring of 1916, shortly after the various American volun- 
teer aviators had been gathered into a single unit and been placed 
at the point of the greatest danger — ^the Verdun sector of the 
front. 

The formation of the Franco-American Flying Corps was 
formed by Frazier Curtis and Norman Prince, after many un- 
successful attempts since December, 1914. At the time of gath- 
ering the scattered Americans into a single corps there were 
about thirty experienced aviators in the group, but the number 
has been greatly augmented since then, and in the latter part 
of July nearly a hundred are reported to have been gathered in 
the aviation corps near Verdun. 

The first American aviator to fly over the Verdun battle field 
since the beginning of the great battle still raging in that sector, 
was Carroll Winslow, of New York, who piloted one of the 
Maurice Farman speed planes. Previous to the beginning of 
that battle. Lieutenant William Thaw of Pittsburgh and El- 
liott Cowdin of New York had crossed the battle field repeatedly. 



AERIAL COMBATS AND RAIDS 427 

CHAPTER LVI 

AERIAL COMBATS AND RAIDS 

THEBRUARY, 1916, because of foggy, stormy weather, did not 
-■■ furnish many thrilling aerial combats. With the exception of 
a Zeppelin raid over England and an attack on Kent by two 
German Fokker aeroplanes, in the course of which bombs were 
dropped on Ramsgate and Broadstairs, few events worthy of 
chronicling occurred on either of the big battle fronts. In Egypt, 
early in that month, an officer of the R. F. C. flew from Daba, 
railhead of the Mariut railway, to El Gara and return, without 
a stop. The entire trip was made in eight hours, covering 400 
miles. It was one of the most splendid pieces of reconnoitering 
work accomplished by a British aviation officer. 

On February 25, 1916, announcement was made in the British 
House of ComnK)ns to the effect that the total loss of life in the 
twenty-nine great and small Zeppelin raids up to that date had 
been 266. 

On March 1, 1916, an Aviatik aeroplane, piloted by Lieutenant 
Faber, and containing Lieutenant Kuehl as observer, succeeded 
in wrecking the leading truck of a motor transport train on the 
Besangon-Jussey road. The bomb struck squarely and blockaded 
the road for a considerable time, causing confusion and delay in 
the transport. While the drivers of the trucks endeavored to 
straighten out the tangle, the aviators poured a withering fire 
from their machine gun into the crowd of men, while circling 
over the truck at low altitude. 

Four days later an extensive Zeppelin raid was directed at the 
east coast of England, the result being twelve killed and thirty- 
three injured, while considerable material damage was admitted 
by British papers. 

Aerial duels and combats over the battle lines began to in- 
crease in number to such an extent as to cause their omission 
from the official bulletins. Only the most spectacular feats there- 
after were considered worthy of record. Among these was an 



428 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

attack by four German sea planes, which set out from some part 
of the Belgian coast and raided the English coast from Dover to 
Margate, kilHng nine and injuring thirty-one persons. One of 
the planes was damaged by the defending guns. 

A few days later the British returned the visit with five sea 
planes, accompanied by a cruiser and destroyers, with disas- 
trous results. As related in a former chapter at some length, 
only two of the machines succeeded in escaping from the wither- 
ing fire of the strong antiaircraft defense guns. 

Then followed the series of Zeppelin raids between March 31 
and April 5, 1916, when practically the entire eastern and north- 
eastern coast of England was bombarded by the German air 
fleet. Even Scotland was visited by some of the Zeppelins, and 
there is every reason to believe that the main object of the raid 
was to discover the whereabouts of the main British battleship 
fleet. However, the airships seem to have returned southward 
before locating the fleet. The German admiralty never gave up 
hope of locating the main base with certainty, for many Zep- 
pelin and submarine raids were made with no other object in 
view. Had the ships succeeded, there is no doubt that all avail- 
able submarines would have been dispatched to the spot, ordered 
to lie in wait, and then entice the fleet out by offering a couple 
of older ships as a sacrifice. The plan did not work out to the 
satisfaction of the German navy heads, but it still remains one 
of their pet hopes. 

On April 3, 1916, a French dirigible appeared above Audun- 
le-Roman, bombarding the railway station, while on the same 
day a German Aviatik was winged at Souchez, crashing to the 
earth and killing the occupants. 

On April 4, 1916, a sensational aerial battle took place between 
more than a score of Austrian and Italian machines above An- 
cona. Three Austrian planes were reported shot down, while two 
of the Italians seemed severely damaged. 

The next day a German official resume of the aerial battles 
was issued by the Germans, in which it was claimed that fourteen 
German machines and forty-four British and French were lost in 
March. In this compilation the German statement differentiated 



AERIAL COMBATS AND RAIDS 429 

between "destroyed'' and "brought down," claiming to have 
listed only those which were actually shot down under conditions 
which precluded the safety of pilot and observer, or which were 
captured in the German lines. 

April 7, 1916, saw a heavy bombardment of Saloniki by Bul- 
garian and Austrian aeroplanes; the camp of the Australian 
section and that of the French contingent were severely dam- 
aged, and fire broke out in them. 

A week later, three naval British aeroplanes dropped bombs 
on Constantinople and also farther north on Adrianople, in an 
attempt to destroy the large powder factories and hangars there. 
The damage reported was very slight, and of no military 
value. The machines made a trip of 300 miles length, in order 
to carry out this attack, an achievement worthy of special 
notice. 

A strong French squadron shelled the stations at Nantillons 
and Brieulles on April 10 and 11, 1916, doing considerable ma- 
terial damage to buildings. 

On April 12, 1916, the Czar of Russia had a narrow escape 
from death when an Austrian aeroplane, of the Rumpler-Taube 
type, appeared over the parade grounds at Czemowitz, throwing 
several .bombs on the officers present. The aviator did not know 
of the presence of the czar, and the incident did not become 
public for several days after. 

On April 15, 1916, a large French battle plane, fitted with a 
37-millimeter gun, attacked a German steamer in the North Sea, 
but the ship escaped without damage, as all the shells went wide 
of the mark. 

The French resume of the operations on the west front during 
March challenges the statement of the German authorities con- 
cerning the number of machines lost. "During the month of 
March,'' says the official communique, "our military aircraft 
displayed great activity along the entire front, notably in the 
region of Verdun. In the course of the many aerial engagements 
thirty-one German machines were 'brought down' by our pilots, 
nine of which descended or crashed to the ground within our 
lines, while twenty-two were brought down in the German lines. 



430 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

There is no doubt concerning the fate of those twenty-two msir 
chines which our pilots attacked over the enemy's lines. Twelve 
of these aeroplanes were seen coming down in flames, and ten 
descended in headlong spirals under the fire of our airmen. 
Moreover, four German machines were brought down by our 
special guns, one in our lines in the environs of Avocourt and 
three in the enemy lines — one near Suippes, one near Nouvion 
and one near Sainte-Marie-a-Py. This total of thirty-five ma- 
chines should be contrasted with the figures of our own aerial 
losses, which amount to thirteen aeroplanes, as follows: One 
French machine brought down in our lines and twelve brought 
down in the German lines." 

A pitched battle between Zeppelins, battle cruisers, and sub- 
marines on the German side, and destroyers, land batteries, aero- 
planes and sea planes on the British side, took place in the morn- 
ing of April 25, 1916, near Lowestoft. A number of aeroplones 
and sea planes rose to attack the Zeppelins which were flying 
high and bound westward. In the course of the battle the air- 
ships turned toward the sea, bringing the pursuing aeroplanes 
within range of the naval guns. Four submarines also appeared 
on the surface and began firing their high-angle guns against 
the British aeros. One of the latter was destroyed by fire from a 
Zeppelin quick-firing gun, while two sea planes were se- 
verely damaged by the fire from the battle cruisers and 
submarines. 

May, 1916, began with three disasters for the German aerial 
forces. On the 3d of the month, the naval airship Ln20 
(Schuette-Lanz type) which had raided the coast of England 
and Scotland on the preceding day, ran out of fuel on the return 
trip and was carried by a strong wind eastward onto the 
Norwegian coast, where it stranded near Stavanger. The 
Norwegian authorities interned the crew and blew up the 
ship. 

Two more Zeppelins were lost two days later ; the L-7 (one of 
the oldest airships in the service) was shot down by French 
warships off Saloniki, while the other fell a victim to the guns 
of a British squadron off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein. 



AERIAL COMBATS AND RAIDS 431 

An Italian airship, the MS, attempted a reconnoitering trip 
over the Austrian positions on the Gorizia front, but was heavily 
bombarded with incendiary shells. Fire broke out on the airship 
and the resulting explosion tore it apart, killing the crew of 
six men. 

Sixteen Allies' aeroplanes undertook a bombing expedition 
upon the German aerdromes at Mariakerke, dropping thirty- 
eight large and seventeen small bombs. A sea plane dropped 
one 100-pound bomb and two 65-pound bombs on the Solvay 
Works at Zeebrugge. All the machines are reported to have 
returned in safety, with one exception. 

Aerial combats increased in number and violence during the 
summer months, as many as thirty separate fights taking place 
in a single day on a short stretch of the battle fronts. In one 
of the combats, early in June, Lieutenant Immelmann, of the 
German forces, was shot down and killed. At first the report 
included his famous comrade. Lieutenant Boelke, among the 
killed, but news received later mentioned his name among ttie 
fighting corps. 

Dover and other ports on the English coast were raided by 
two German sea planes on June 9 and 10, 1916, according to the 
German official report. The British denied that any such raid 
took place. The next day, two German sea planes attacked 
Calais, on the French side of the Channel, dropping bombs on the 
port and the encampments. They returned to their base un- 
damaged. 

German aeroplanes also raided Kantara, thirty miles south of 
Port Said, and fired on Romani with machine guns. A number 
of casualties occurred at Kantara. 

A raid of considerable magnitude was carried out by the Ger- 
man forces against the port of Reval, during which they bom- 
barded cruisers, destroyers, military buildings, and several sub- 
marines lying in the harbor. One of the latter is reported to 
have been hit four times. The sea planes had been convoyed to 
the port by a fleet of cruisers and destroyers which waited in the 
open sea for the return of the aeroplanes. The attacking party 
had no losses. 

BB— -War St. 5 



432 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

An aerial battle between more than forty machines took place 
on July 3, 1916, near Lille. A British squadron set out to bom- 
bard the city of Lille, but was attacked during the bombardment 
by a fleet of twenty German monoplanes and biplanes. The Brit- 
ish claim to have brought down two of the German machines, 
while all the British returned safely to their lines. 

Similar raids continue every day along the battle front in 
Flanders, Belgium, and France, and even to enumerate them 
would be merely a repetition entirely without value to the reader. 



PART X— THE UNITED STATES AND 
THE BELLIGERENTS 



CHAPTER LVII 

WAR CLOUD IN CONGRESS 

A CONFUSED situation prevailed in Congress on March 1, 
1916, the date on which Germany decreed that her submarines 
would sink all armed merchantmen of the Allied Powers without 
warning. The promulgation of this decree had abruptly inter- 
rupted the imminent settlement of the Lusitania case, the 
Administration having taken a serious view of Germany's latest 
step, which injected new elements into the whole submarine 
dispute with that country. Once more the old question of the 
danger to Americans traveling on belligerent vessels arose in an 
aggravated form. The Administration was steadfast in uphold- 
ing the right of Americans to travel the seas when and whither 
they chose, immune under international law from interference 
or menace on the part of any belligerent power. Strong factions 
in Congress, in the face of Germany's new decree, feared that 
the Administration's stand was driving the country into certain 
war with Germany. Americans were bound to be among the 
crews of passengers of the armed merchantmen that Germany 
was determined to sink on sight, and this country had already 
clearly indicated to Berlin what would happen if any fatality 
befell them. 

Hence, as mentioned in the previous volume of the history, a 
feverish agitation developed in Congress for the passage of 
resolutions forbidding Americans to travel on belligerent ships 
at all during the war. German-American influences, especially 

433 



434 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

congressional delegations from districts, chiefly in the Middle 
West, where the German vote was a decisive factor, assiduously 
fanned this movement, but there was a scattered sentiment, 
wholly American at heart, and unallied with pro-Germanism, 
which also held the view that Americans ought not to jeopardize 
the peace of their country by traveling in belligerent vessels. 
Resolutions pending in the House and Senate prohibiting them 
from doing so had been pigeonholed in committee. President 
Wilson had interposed, urging that no action be taken on them. 
He held that the executive and legislature ought not to be at 
cross-purposes on a question of foreign policy, and any antago- 
nistic step by Congress against the Administration would weaken 
the United States in the sight of the world. The Congressional 
leaders, at heart opposed to the President, reluctantly agreed 
that the two branches of the Government ^ould not be rent by 
divided counsels on such a dangerous issue as the country's re- 
lations with Germany. 

The President faced a critical and exasperating situation. He 
changed his earlier view that Congress should not put itself in 
the position of wrangling with the executive over the armed- 
merchantmen issue. If divided counsels there were in Con- 
gress regarding his submarine policy, let them now declare 
themselves, and let the stronger prevail ! Hence, instead of any 
longer desiring that the armed-merchantmen resolutions should 
remain smothered in committee, he challenged the leaders in 
Congress to bring them to a vote so that the world might know 
whether Congress was with him or against him. The President 
would not brook the continuation of an impasse which lent a 
spurious color to the manufactured impression current abroad, 
that he was playing a lone hand in his submarine policy, unsup- 
ported by Congress and the country. He strove to emphasize 
that his insistence on the right of Americans to travel on 
belligerent merchant ships, whether armed for defense or other- 
wise, would not mean war with Germany, the latter would rattier 
surrender to the American demands to avoid war. 

The immediate effect of the President's demand for a vote on 
the armed-merchantmen resolutions was to dear the air regard- 



WAR CLOUD IN CONGRESS 435 

ing the strength of their supporters in Congress. The over- 
whelming sentiment in their favor rapidly diminished — if it 
ever really existed — under the searchlight of careful canvassing 
by the Administration's supporters, until it began to be manifest 
that, far from Congress ranging itself against the President, 
the latter would carry the day. Then came a reversal of tactics 
by the congressional factions opposed to the President. When 
the belief or illusion prevailed that the armed-merchantmen 
resolutions would pass the House by a big majority, strident 
demands were heard for submitting them to a roll call and un- 
restrained resentment against the President was expressed for 
thwarting such action. But now, when national sentiment 
ranged itself in support of the President, and many Congress- 
men had heard from their constituents, there was a disposition 
in Congress to turn the tables on the President by preventing 
the resolution being put to the vote that is, by keeping them 
in the limbo where they had been consigned at the President's 
original request, since, to be sure, the vote would compel Con- 
gressmen to go on record as to their pro-German leanings, and 
would, moreover, be defeated. This and other influences deferred 
action by the House for a week. 

Meantime national sentiment had rapidly crystallized to a 
simple viewpoint, and Congressmen could not wisely ignore it. 
The general view was that if Congress opposed the executive 
on the armed-merchantmen issue, and proscribed the present 
rights of American citizens to travel on the trading ships of 
belligerent nations, the whole diplomatic negotiations with 
Germany on the submarine dispute would be reduced to chaos. 
No president, oppressed by such a precedent, could enter with 
confidence on any contention with a foreign power. His most 
earnest representations and most solemn protestations might 
be rendered meaningless by the intrusion of a Congress in- 
fluenced by incorrect reports or overcome by personal antago- 
nism. Such a condition of executive impotence was viewed as 
endangering rather than safeguarding the country's tranquillity. 
The paramount need then was that Congress should support 
the presidency, not the temporary occupant of th'^ White House. 



436 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

The country was in a controversy with a European power and 
the American stand had been taken on definite and well-under- 
stood principles. 

In the midst of that dispute the demand had been voiced that 
the American attitude be radically changed and the conditions 
seriously altered. The inevitable effect of such a change in 
American policy, it was felt, would be to hearten the power that 
was at issue with the United States, to embarrass the President, 
and encourage the belief that those to whom he must look for 
support would withhold it from him. That injury could only 
be repaired by the repudiation by Congress of the influences at 
work within it aiming at the overthrow of the President's policy, 
and by a convincing exhibition of the unity of the republic. 

The Senate was the first to act. The armed-ship resolution, 
forbidding Americans to travel on such craft, was introduced 
by Senator Gore, of Oklahoma, who thus explained his purpose 
in doing so : 

"I introduced this resolution because I was apprehensive that 
we were speeding headlong upon war; perhaps, I ought to go 
further and say what I have hitherto avoided saying, that my 
action was based on a report which seemed to come from the 
highest and most responsible authority, that certain Senators 
and certain members of the House, in a conference with the 
President of the United States, received from the President the 
information, if not the declaration, that if Germany insisted upon 
her position the United States would insist upon her position, 
and that it would result probably in a breach of diplomatic 
relations, and that a breach of diplomatic relations would prob- 
ably be followed by a state of war, and that a state of war 
might not be of itself and of necessity an evil to this republic, 
but that the United States, by entering upon war now, might be 
able to bring it to a conclusion by midsummer and thus render 
a great service to civilization. 

"Mr. President," added the Senator, "I cannot say what the 
truth may be. I tell you the tale as it was told to me. This 
came to my ears in such a way, with such a concurrence of 
testimony, with such internal and external marks of truth. 



WAR CLOUD IN CONGRESS 437 

that I feared it might be the truth, and if such a thing be con- 
ceivable I did not feel that, discharging my duty as a Senator, 
I could withhold whatever feeble service I might render to avert 
the catastrophe of war." 

The President immediately authorized an unqualified denial 
to be made that he had expressed any utterance to which such 
a meaning could be attached. On the contrary, the President, 
in his talks with members of Congress, had insisted that war 
vrsis the last happening he wanted and that his and not Congress* 
course would best insure peace. One version of what transpired 
at the conference referred to by Senator Gore credited the 
President with making these statements to the Senators and 
Congressmen who consulted him: That the way to avoid war 
was to convince the rest of the world that the people of the 
United States were standing solidly behind the executive; that 
the course Congress was seeking to pursue would lead toward 
war rather than away from it, because yielding to Germany on 
the present issue would result in further curtailments of Ameri- 
can rights; that the only course the United States could safely 
pursue now was to abide by international law; that any other 
course would result in making circumstances themselves the 
sole guide, and this policy would eventually cause the fabric 
of international law itself to crumble and disappear; that any 
concession to Germany, abridging the right of Americans to 
travel on the seas, would necessitate a concession to Great 
Britain; and that such a weakening of American policy would 
cause the country to drift toward war. Asked what would 
happen if a German submarine sank an armed merchantman 
with the loss of American life, the President was quoted as 
intimating that in that event only a break in diplomatic rela- 
tions would follow ; further asked as to the effect such a rupture 
would probably have, he carefully replied that "it had been 
represented that this would lead to war," and that the partici- 
pation of the United States in the European upheaval might 
result in ending hostilities in six months. 

The effect of the disputed disclosure of the President's views 
on the issues with Germany, coupled with his disavowal of 



438 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Senator Grore's statements, was an accession of congressional 
support to the Administration, and the dooming of the Gore 
resolution to certain failure. After a couple of days' debate the 
resolution was put to the vote and defeated March 3, 1916, by 
sixty-eight to fourteen. But this only meant an overwhelming 
rejection of the intent of the Gore resolution, for its proposer, 
foreseeing that it could not pass, confused the President's sup- 
porters at the last minute by resorting to a parliamentary 
maneuver changing its purport. The resolution, as put before 
the Senate, had been reversed ; instead of forbidding Americans 
to travel on belligerent vessels, it had become a hypothetical 
declaration of war against Germany — a bellicose affirmation in 
irreconcilable contrast with the senator's well-known pacifism. 
Originally the resolution read : 

"Whereas a number of leading powers of the world are now 
engaged in a war of unexampled proportions; and 

"Whereas the United States is happily at peace with all of the 
belligerent nations; and 

"Whereas it is equally the desire and the interest of the Ameri- 
can people to remain at peace with all nations ; and 

"Whereas the President has recently offered fresh and signal 
proofs of the superiority of diplomacy to butchery as a method 
of settling international disputes; and 

"Whereas the right of American citizens to travel On un- 
armed belligerent vessels has recently received renewed guar- 
antees of respect and inviolability; and 

"Whereas the right of American citizens to travel on armed 
belligerent vessels rather than upon unarmed vessels is essential 
neither to their life, liberty, or safety; nor to the independence, 
dignity, or securing of the United States; and 

"Whereas Congress alone has been vested with the power to 
declare war, which involved the obligations to prevent war by 
all proper means consistent with the honor and vital interest of 
the nation; therefore be it 

"Resolved, by the Senate (the House of Representatives, con- 
curring) , That it is the sense of the Congress, vested as it is 
with the sole power to declare war, that aJl persons owing alle- 



ARMED-MERCHANTMEN ISSUE 439 

giance to the United States should, in behalf of their own safety 
and the vital interest of the United States, forbear to exercise 
the right of travel as passengers upon any armed vessel of any 
belligerent power, whether such vessel be armed for offensive or 
defensive purposes; and it is the furtiier sense of the Congress 
that no passport should be issued or renewed by the Secretary 
of State, or by anyone acting under him, to be used by any 
person owing allegiance to the United States for purpose of 
travel upon any such armed vessel of a belligerent power/' 

As voted upon by the Senate, this resolving clause had disap- 
peared and the following substitute with the preamble unaltered, 
had taken its place: 

"Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives con- 
curring). That the sinking by a submarine without notice or 
warning of an armed merchant vessel of her public enemy, 
resulting in the death of a citizen of the United States, would 
constitute a just and sufficient cause of war between the United 
States and the German Empire." 



CHAPTER LVIII 

THE PRESIDENT UPHELD IN ARMED- 
MERCHANTMEN ISSUE — FINAL 
CRISIS WITH GERMANY 

THE issue in the Senate, as far as the text of the resolution 
was concerned, was beclouded. Senators on both sides vainly 
sought to ascertain what the change meant. Senator Gore him- 
self even voted against his amended proposal. But out of the 
confusion the upshot was plain. The debate before the Senate 
had been on the question whether Americans should be allowed 
to travel on armed belligerent ships, and, whatever the resolution 
finally expressed, that was the question on which Senators really 
declared their aye or nay. Technically, the Senate had failed, if 
it had not actually refused, to adopt a resolution hostile to the 
Administration's foreign policy. Another resolution similar to 



440 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

that originally proposed by Senator Gore, sponsored by Senator 
Jones of Washington, was withdrawn by him, and a bitter debate 
continued for hours without any measure pending. Hence the 
Senate had technically gone on record against declaring war on 
Germany if any of her submarines sank an armed merchantman 
without warning, thereby causing the death of* any American on 
board. Actually it supported the Administration in its policy 
upholding the right of Americans to travel on belligerent ships, 
and the handful of Senators who voted for the amended resolu- 
tion were hostile to the President's stand. 

Meantime parliamentary tactics by the President's opponents 
in the House of Representatives successfully delayed the sub- 
mission of the McLemore resolution to a vote. The Foreign 
Relations Committee had decided, by 17 to 2, to report it, with 
the recommendation that it be "tabled." The resolution had even 
been abandoned by its author, Representative Jeff McLemore of 
iTexas, who was of opinion that it had really served its purpose 
without being adopted. "The main object of the resolution," he 
said, "was to prevent this country being plunged into war with 
one or more of the belligerent nations, simply because of the 
heedless act of some indiscreet American citizens, and I feel sure 
that this object has now been attained." 

But the object the President sought, which was a virtual vote 
of confidence, by both Houses of Congress, on his submarine 
policy, had not been attained, and would not until the resolution 
had been brought into the open House and squarely voted upon. 
The issue between the House and the President had gone too far 
for further cross-fires of parliamentary moves to succeed in pre- 
venting the resolution from coming to a vote, and, on March 7, 
1916, it reached this crucial stage and was defeated by 276 to 143, 
after six hours of turbulent debate, 

The majority of 133 in favor of shelving the resolution, 
achieved by the aid of many Republican votes, was interpreted 
as a decisive compliance with the request of the President. 

The voting in both the House and Senate on the armed- 
merchantmen issue ranged more on geographical than on po- 
litical divisions, and indicated that on questions of foreign policy 



ARMED-MERCHANTMEN ISSUE 441 

Congressional sentiment was governed by sectional, not by party 
lines. Thus, of the fourteen votes cast in the Senate against 
^'tabling'' the Gore resolution twelve were recorded by Senators 
from States west of Indiana and Lake Michigan, while a geo- 
graphical analysis of the House vote revealed that President 
Wilson met the strongest opposition from the Middle West dele- 
gations, and derived his chief support from the Atlantic Sea- 
board States. 

Secretary Lansing later issued a ruling of the State Depart- 
ment defining the status of armed merchant ships. Germany 
was thereby notified that the United States recognized the 
equity of her argument — ^that if a vessel was armed and used its 
armament to attack a submarine the latter could not be called 
upon to give warning in advance, for in so doing the safety of 
the submarine and its crew was imperiled. But the United 
States reiterated what it had frequently pointed out before as 
the only criterion governing such occurrences — each case must 
be judged by itself. Only a belligerent vessel which had been 
proved guilty of such an offensive use of armament could be 
regarded as a warship. The presence of armament could not of 
itself be construed as a presumption of hostility. Summarized, 
the State Department's ruling laid down : 

(1) That the status of an armed merchantman must in each 
ease be determined before it could be regarded as a warship — 
a neutral government, on entry of the ship into port, presuming 
that the armament was aggressive unless the belligerent proved 
otherwise. 

(2) The belligerents on the high seas must assume that the 
armed ship carried armament only for protection, and, unless 
resistance or an attempt to escape was immediately made, the 
merchantman could not be attacked without receiving due 
warning. 

(3) That Americans and all others who took passage on armed 
Bhips intermittently engaged in commerce raiding could not 
expect to be immune, for such vessels acquired a "hostile taint." 
This was Germany's contention; but the United States refused 
to agree to the German idea that, because a few British vessels 



442 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

might be guilty of wrongful use of armament, all British ships 
must consequently be regarded as warships. 

(4) The right of "self-protection" could be exercised by an 
armed merchantman; and this was different from cruising the 
high seas for the special purpose of attacking hostile ships. 

(5) If belligerent vessels were under orders to attack sub- 
marines in all circumstances they lost their status as "peaceful 
merchantmen." Germany claimed England had so ordered. 
England denied the charge. Evidence in each case must recon^ 
cile the difference of opinion. 

The Administration's position in the submarine issue with 
Germany, now that Congress had upheld the President, seemed 
to be that Germany's decree condemning armed merchantmen 
curtailed the liberty of Americans to travel on the high seas. 
The status quo had not been affected. Germany, in the Arabic 
case, had undertaken that merchant vessels would not be tor- 
pedoed without first being warned, and that pledge the United 
States looked to her to respect, whether the vessels were armed 
for defense or not. What, then, would now happen, with Ger- 
many's latest decree sent ringing round the world with resound- 
ing bombast, by way of telling neutral noncombatants, including 
Americans, to stay at home, as though cataclysmic destruction 
awaited all vessels which dared to show a gun at the stern ? The 
United States waited. Nothing, so far as the German armed- 
merchantmen decree was concerned, did happen. There was no 
appreciable increase in the number of vessels sunk by Teutonic 
submarines, and armed merchantmen did not especially figure 
among the victims. 

In the face of this tame execution of the terrible decree, pro- 
viding a sorry anticlimax to its noisy proclamation, the German 
press called for a policy of no compromise with the United 
States. The "Berliner Tageblatt" announced that Germany in- 
tended to wage a ruthless U-boat war against her enemies, what- 
ever the American attitude might be. Apparently the German 
people believed that a renewal of submarine activity was vitally 
necessary, and were convinced of the propriety of their stand, 
both from the point of view of ethics and international \aw. 



ARMED-MERCHANTMEN ISSUE 443 

Germany's armed-merchantmen decree, as indicated, was 
not immediately followed by any submarine activity of a charac- 
ter in keeping with the dire threat made; but toward the 
close of March, 1916, a sudden indiscriminate outbreak of 
destruction came against merchantmen of every type. Many 
were sunk without warning, the question of whether they were 
armed or not seemingly being disregarded in the new crusade. 
The United States began to take stern cognizance of these reck- 
less operations when four ships having Americans on board, 
either among the crews or passengers, became targets for the 
kj^iser's torpedoes, without warning. These were the Eagle 
Point, the Manchester Engineer, the Englishman, and the Sttssex. 
All were sunk except the last-named vessel, and the Americans 
were saved except one on the Englishman, though not, in several 
cases, without injury. 

The circumstances of the torpedoing of the Sicssex provoked 
a final clash between the United States and Germany. This 
vessel plied as a Channel ferryboat between Folkestone and 
Dieppe. On March 24, 1916, at 4.30 p. m., while near the latter 
port, with 436 persons on board, including seventy-five Ameri- 
cans, she was struck by a torpedo from a submarine. The cap- 
tain observed a torpedo about 100 meters from the side and 
immediately maneuvered to avoid it; but the vessel was struck 
in the forward part, which was destroyed. Rescuing craft 
towed the disabled boat to Boulogne, where a majority of the 
passengers were landed. About fifty persons lost their lives, and 
three Americans were hurt. 

The State Department at once instructed the American am- 
bassador at Berlin to inquire whether the torpedo which almost 
sunk the Sitssex came from a German submarine, though the 
Government entertained little doubt that this was the case. The 
American suspicions were later confirmed by incontestable evi- 
dence; but the Government first sought to give Germany the 
opportunity of having her day in court before acting. 

Unofficially came reports from Berlin scouting as impossible 
the assumption that a German submarine was the culprit, the 
assurance being repeated that Germany in no circumstance 



444 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

would violate her pledge to the United States not to destroy 
enemy vessels except after full warning to enable crews and pas- 
sengers to save their lives. No official statement was forthcom- 
^'ng. The German admiralty declined to "deny or explain" until 
all the submarines operating off the French coast had returned 
and reported. 

The American procedure in the Sussex case differed from that 
followed in previous issues with Germany arising from sub- 
marine warfare. There were no official representations made to 
Berlin; Ambassador Gerard was merely asked to ascertain in- 
formally and transmit to Washington any pertinent facts he 
could gather bearing on Germany's culpability. The submarine 
issue, in fact, had reached a stage where explanations and ex- 
cuses were of minor importance. Evidence showing whether 
Germany had or had not broken her pledge not to torpedo pas- 
senger vessels without warning was alone of interest to the 
President. Proof of Germany's guilt foreshadowed an un- 
qualified threat by the United States to break off diplomatic 
relations. The United States determined to be the judge with 
Germany in the dock as a defendant, instead of arguing an issue 
with Berlin, as in the past. This attitude placed Germany in the 
position of having to prove her innocence in the face of damag- 
ing evidence of her guilt. No discussion was even invited with 
the German ambassador over the case, and Count von Bemstorff 
apparently did not want to make his usual extenuatory or de- 
fensive pleas. 

Germany assumed a mien of innocence. Her spokesmen by 
implication declined to consider that she was in any way involved 
in the Sitssex case ; hence there could be no need for Count von 
Bernstorff to make it a subject of discussion with the American 
Government. 

"I cannot help it," said the ambassador unofficially. ''One can- 
not blame Germany because the Sitssex struck a British mine. 
Why should we discuss it? It does not concern us." 

This was Germany's first informal explanation. The readiest 
means of exculpating Germany from complicity in the Sitssex 
affair was eagerly seized upon and clung to. What other cause 



ARMED-MERCHANTMEN ISSUE 445 

except a British mine would there be for the calamity the Sussex 
had encountered when Germany had pledged herself not to make 
such attacks? 

Meantime information reached Washington that the German 
secret orders to submarine commanders relating to the armed- 
merohantmen decree did not conform to the pledges given to the 
United States, but urged the importance of a policy of conceal- 
ment in their operations, so that it would be difficult, if not im- 
possible, to lay the proof at Germany's door, if any vessel was 
sunk contrary to pledge. By this means the German Government 
could decline to acknowledge responsibility for any attack un- 
less the United States could prove that the submarine was of 
German nationality. 

Whether Washington was correctly informed or not, Ger- 
many's attitude gave color to the theory that she had prede- 
termined on repudiating having any hand in submarine attacks 
if she could successfully cloak the operations of her U-boat com- 
manders. The situation embarrassed the United States and in- 
fluenced the procedure of the diplomatic negotiations necessary 
to elucidate any given case. Germany's attitude, in short, placed 
the United States in the position of either assuming that the 
word of a friendly government could not be accepted at its face 
value, or of abandoning further inquiry, as happened in the case 
of the Persia, recorded in the previous volume. The President 
boldly undertook to act on the first of these alternatives. 

Before the crisis reached this stage, the German point of view 
regarding submarine warfare was, despite pledges, more than 
ever unalterably opposed to modifying that warfare to conform 
to the wishes of any foreign power. For eleven days after the 
attack of the Sttssex the Berlin Foreign Office preserved an atti- 
tude of ignorance regarding the torpedoing ; but the seriousness 
with which the case was viewed in the United States, coupled 
with the instructions from Washington to Ambassador Gerard, 
at length caused the Foreign Office to call upon the admiralty for 
a report on the destruction of the Siissex if any submarine com- 
mander could throw any light upon it. No hope, however, was 
entertained that a satisfactory statement would be received 



446 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

from Berlin. A resort to evasion, a professed lack of informationp 
the familiar assumption of an English or French mine being 
to blame, were expected to be embodied in any defense Berlin 
made, and an explanation of this tenor was rejected in 
advance. 

Germany's answer was received on April 10, 1916, and ful- 
filled expectations. The United States was informed that the 
admiralty had subjected the affair to the fullest investigation, 
with this result — ^that no German submarine attacked the Sus* 
sex, but that one torpedoed another vessel, about the same time 
in the same vicinity, with the same result. A sketch the subma- 
rine commander made of the vessel he struck was submitted to 
show that it was not the Sitssex, as the sketch differed from the 
published pictures of that ship. The submarine commander, the 
German note said, had been led to attack the "unknown'' vessel 
in the belief that it was a warship, that is, "a mine layer of the 
recently built Arabic class." A violent explosion occurred in the 
fore part of the ship after the torpedo had been fired, which 
"warrants the certain conclusion that great amounts of ammuni- 
tions were on board." The German note proceeded : 

"No other attack whatever by German submarines at the time 
in question for the Sussex upon the route between Folkestone and 
Dieppe occurred. The German Government must therefore as- 
sume that the injury to the Sitssex is attributable to another 
cause than an attack by a German submarine. 

"For an explanation of the case the fact may perhaps be serv- 
iceable that no less than twenty-six English mines were ex- 
ploded by shots by German naval forces in the channel on the 1st 
and 2d of April alone. The entire sea in that vicinity is, in fact, 
endangered by floating mines and by torpedoes that have not 
sunk. Off the English coast it is further endangered in an in- 
creasing degree through German mines which have been laid 
against enemy naval forces. 

"Should the American Government have at its disposal further 
material for a conclusion upon the case of the Sussex the Ger- 
man Government would ask that it be communicated, in order to 
snbiect this material also to an investigation. 




British sailors and officers boarding the captured U C-5 German mine-laying submarine. 
The open grating shows one of the openings through which mines are laid 



iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii 



I mill iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii II iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin 



ARMED-MERCHANTMEN ISSUE 447 

"In the event that differences of opinion should develop hereby 
between the two Governments, the German Government now 
declares itself ready to have the facts of the case established 
through mixed commissions of investigation, in accordance with 
the third title of 'The Hague agreement for the peaceful settle- 
ment of international conflicts, November 18, 1907/ '' 

In explanation of the sinking of the Manchester Engineer, the 
Englishman, and the Eagle Point, which vessels had Americans 
on board, the German note professed to be unable to say whether 
the first-named ship was attacked by a German submarine, but 
in the case of the two last-named they were attacked after at- 
tempting to escape and disregarding signals to stop. 

The conununication made the worst of impressions on the 
Washington Government. The clumsy prevarication of attempt- 
ing to show that a steamer other than the Sussex had been tor- 
pedoed in the belief that it was a war vessel merely sufficed 
to complete the accumulating circumstantial evidence in the 
possession of the Government that the Sussex had been tor- 
pedoed by a German submarine without warning in violation of 
an express pledge. The Administration had become weary of 
Germany's protestations of innocence and good behavior, and of 
shallow excuses for breaking her word, and had lost faith in any 
German utterance. The cabinet view of the situation, as ex- 
pressed at a meeting called the day following the receipt of the 
German note, was that a nation which would accept perjured 
affidavits as a basis for a note charging that the Lusitania was 
armed would not hesitate to enter a blanket denial of any act if 
perpetrated. 

The tension created by Germany's unconvincing alibi caused 
alarm in Berlin, and government officials were reported as show- 
ing a nervous anxiety to strain every nerve to avoid a rupture 
with the United States. A loophole had been provided in the 
German note for a possible withdrawal of her denial of respon- 
sibility for the destruction of the Sussex as will be seen from this 
passage : 

'^Should the American Government have at its disposal further 
material for a conclusion upon the case of the Sussex the German 

CC—War St. 5 



448 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

Government would ask that it be communicated, in order to sul>> 
ject this material also to an investigation." 

This saving clause gave the German note the aspect of a pre- 
liminary to the usual backdown and to an admission of liability, 
with the palliating excuse of ignorance of the vessel's identity. 
At any rate signs were not wanting that Germany recognized, 
had she had a choice to make, with the American Government 
reenforced with clinching testimony, to be duly presented, that 
a German submarine and none other torpedoed the Sussex and 
jeopardized the lives of twenty-five Americans on board. 

On April 19, 1916, President Wilson had the issue with Ger- 
many before Congress and addressed that body in person, 
solemnly informing the legislators that "a situation has arisen 
in the foreign relations of the country of which it is my plain duty 
to inform you very frankly." This he proceeded to do, speaking, 
he said, on behalf of the rights of the United States and its 
citizens and the rights of humanity in general. He announced 
that he had notified Germany that "unless the Imperial Govern- 
ment should now immediately declare and effect an abandonment 
of its present methods of submarine warfare against passenger 
and freight-carrying vessels, the Government of the United States 
can have no choice but to sever diplomatic relations with the 
German Empire altogether." 

The President's address was more or less a paraphrase of the 
note he had that day sent to Berlin, and was in fulfillment of a 
promise he made to notify Congress of any action he took to 
bring Germany to realize the serious condition of her relations 
with the United States. 



THE AMERICAN ULTIMATUM 449 



CHAPTER LIX 

THE AMERICAN ULTIMATUM 
— GERMANY YIELDS 

rpHE American note was an indictment of Germany's con- 
-*- scienceless practices and broken faith. Secretary Lansing 
informed the kaiser's advisers that their note denying any attack 
on the Sicssex, but acknowledging that another vessel had been 
torpedoed under identical circumstances as to time, place, and 
result, confirmed the inferences the American Gk)vemment had 
drawn from information it possessed establishing "the facts in 
the case of the Sitssex/* 

A "statement of facts" relating to the Sussex accompanied 
the virtual American ultimatum. It set forth a chain of testi- 
mony, citing the source thereof, showing that the passengers 
of the Siissex, which included about twenty-four American citi- 
zens, were of several nationalities, many of them women and 
children, and half of them subjects of neutral states; that the 
Sussex carried no armament; that the vessel has never been 
employed as a troopship, but solely as a Channel ferryboat, and 
was following a route not used for transporting troops from 
Great Britain to France ; that a torpedo was seen driving toward 
the vessel and the captain was unable to swing the vessel out 
of the torpedo's course; that on a subsequent inspection of the 
broken hull a number of pieces of metal were found which 
American, French, and British naval experts decided were not 
parts of a mine, but of a torpedo, with German markings, and 
were otherwise different from parts of torpedoes used by the 
French and British. 

Regarding the sketch made by the German submarine com- 
mander of the steamer which he said he torpedoed, showing that 
it did not agree with a photograph of the Sussex as published, 
the American statement made this comment: 

"This sketch was apparently made from memory of an ob- 
servation of the vessel through a periscope. As the only dif- 



450 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

ferences noted by the commander, who relied on his memory, 
were the position of the smokestack and the sihape of the 
stem, it is to be presumed the vessels were similar in other 
respects. 

This conclusion was the more certain because no other Ger- 
man submarines, on the day the Sussex was wrecked, attacked 
steamers in the same locality. Hence, in the American views, 
"as no vessel is reported to have been torpedoed without warn- 
ing by a submerged submarine other than the Sussex, it is 
beyond question that that vessel was torpedoed by the sub- 
marine whose commander's report is relied upon in the note of 
April 10, 1916." 

The United States had spoken its last word. No attempt was 
made to disguise the gravity of the situation, and there was a 
quiet recognition of the fact that the continuance of friendly 
relations rested wholly on the action of the German Government. 
Just now, however, political conditions in Germany were be- 
lieved to be such that the Government itself, even if it desired 
to give full satisfaction in word and deed to the United States, 
would be facing a problem in finding a way of doing so. The 
Imperial Chancellor, Dr. Bethmann-Hollweg, representing the 
civilian part of the federated government, had so far succeeded 
in holding the concessions to the United States. But the mili- 
tary element, including the naval and submarine advocates of 
a continued campaign of "frightfulness," headed until recently 
by Grand Admiral von Tirpitz, had nevertheless pursued its 
course of ruthless destruction, either with the reluctant and tacit 
consent of the chancellor or in spite of his opposition. There 
thus existed a fundamental cleavage of policy between these two 
factions of the German Government. The chancellor made 
pledges to the United States and the naval authorities disre- 
garded them, the kaiser apparently being helpless or lukewarm 
in his support of the chancellor's commitments. Presently, how- 
ever, when Admiral von Tirpitz's retirement was announced, the 
civilian element appeared in the ascendant. His resignation 
smote the German people with the startling effect of a coup 
d'etat, and was plainly the outcome of a long and silent struggle 



THE AMERICAN ULTIMATUM 451 

in ttie inner councils of the Government. All the political in- 
fluence of the chancellor, supported by the romantic weight of 
the kaiser's name, was exercised to stifle an outburst of criticism 
in the Reichstag. Meantime, under the German system of 
censorship, the submarine warfare was reported to the German 
people in boastful terms, which made them almost a unit in de- 
manding its continuance without abatement. They heard little 
of the hundreds of noncombatants killed by their submarines, or 
else these casualties were explained as the result of the explo- 
sion of cargoes of munitions. They had been told week by 
week of the steady reduction of British tonnage, that the pinch 
of hunger which they had experienced was also being felt in 
England, and that the German submarine was the only shield 
between Germany and starvation. So the German people were 
behind the military and naval element for an unrestricted U-boat 
warfare. The situation was such that the gravest doubt was 
felt whether the chancellor, even with the kaiser's support, 
could adjust the submarine issue in a way satisfactory alike to 
the United States and to the clamorous radical militarists up- 
held by a misled people. 

The German Government brooded over the ultimatum of the 
United States for fifteen days before it decided upon a declara- 
tion that averted a rupture of diplomatic relations. The 
German note, dispatched May 5, 1916, grudgingly admitted "the 
possibility that the ship mentioned in the note of April 10, 1916, 
as having been torpedoed by a German submarine is actually 
identical with the Sussex,** It characteristically withheld an un- 
reserved admission, but "should it turn out that the commander 
was wrong in assuming the vessel to be a man-of-war, the Ger- 
man Government will not fail to draw the consequences resulting 
therefrom.'* This hesitating and qualified acknowledgment was 
accepted as about as near to a confession of guilt as Germany 
was then capable of making. 

On the vital question of the conduct of submarine warfare, a 
change in which the United States was determined upon forcing 
Germany to make, the note was more explicit and thus yielded 
to the American demand : 



452 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

"The German Government will only state that it has imposed 
far-reaching restraint upon the use of the submarine weapoi^ 
solely in consideration of neutrals* interests, in spite of the fact 
that these restrictions are necessarily of advantage to Germany's 
enemies. No such consideration has ever been shown neutrals 
by Great Britain and her allies. 

"The German submarine forces have had, in fact, orders to 
conduct the submarine warfare in accordance with the general 
principles of visit and search and the destruction of merchant 
vessels recognized by international law, the sole exception being 
the conduct of warfare against enemy trade carried on enemy 
freight ships encountered in the war zone surrounding Great 
Britain. 

"With regard to these no assurances have ever been given to 
the Government of the United States. No such assurances are 
contained in the declaration of Febmary 8, 1916. 

"The German Government cannot admit any doubt that these 
orders were given or are executed in good faith." 

Having said so much, the German note proceeded to cloud the 
issue by virtually blaming the United States for the continued 
existence of conditions calling for the sea warfare Germany 
practiced : 

"The German Government has made several proposals to the 
Government of the United States in order to reduce to a mini- 
mum for American travelers and goods the inherent dangers of 
naval warfare. Unfortunately, the Government of the United 
States decided not to accept the proposals. Had it accepted, the 
Government of the United States would have been instrumental 
in preventing the greater part of the accidents that American 
citizens have met with in the meantime. 

"The German Government still stands by its offer to come to 
an agreement along these lines." 

As though this reproach did not go far enough, the German 
note, while affirming that the German Government attached no 
less importance to the sacred principles of humanity than the 
American Government did, accused the United States of showing 
favoritism in its humanitarian sympathies : 



THE AMERICAN ULTIMATUM 453 

"As matters stand, the German Government cannot but re* 
iterate regret that the sentiments of humanity, which the Gov- 
ernment of the United States extends with such fervor to the 
unhappy victims of submarine warfare, are not extended with 
the same warmth of feeling to many milHons of women and chil- 
dren who, according to the avowed intention of the British Gov- 
ernment, shall be starved, and who by sufferings shall force the 
victorious armies of the Central Powers into ignominious capit- 
ulation. 

"The German Government, in agreement with the German 
people, fails to understand this discrimination, all the more as it 
has repeatedly and explicitly declared itself ready to use the 
submarine weapon in strict conformity with the rules of inter- 
national law as recognized before the outbreak of the war, if 
Great Britain likewise was ready to adapt the conduct of war- 
fare to these rules. 

"The German people knows that the Government of the United 
States has the power to confine the war to armed forces of the 
belligerent countries, in the interest of humanity and mainte- 
nance of international law. The Government of the United 
States would have been certain of attaining this end had it 
been determined to insist against Great Britain on the incontro- 
vertible rights to freedom of the seas. But, as matters stand, 
the German people is under the impression that the Government 
of the United States, while demanding that Germany, struggling 
for existence, shall restrain the use of an effective weapon and 
while making compliance with these demands a condition for 
maintenance of relations with Germany, confines itself to pro- 
test against illegal methods adopted by Germany's enemies. 
Moreover, the German people knows to what considerable extent 
its enemies are supplied with all kinds of war material from the 
.United States. 

"It will, therefore, be understood that the appeal made by the 
Government of the United States to sentiments of humanity and 
principles of international law cannot, under the circumstances, 
meet the same hearty response from the German people which 
such an appeal otherwise always is certain to find here." 



454 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

This complaint was an allusion to the refusal of the United 
States to involve its issues with Great Britain with those it had 
with Germany or to mediate the proposal that Great Britain 
raise her food blockade against Germany, who would then dis- 
continue her submarine war on British merchantmen. The tone 
of an injured party Germany assumed in taking this attitude, as 
though she had a just cause of complaint against the United 
States, was accepted as a plaintive prelude to her final surrender ; 
but even this surrender she did not make without again clog- 
ging her concessions with the same proposal which the United 
States had already flatly rejected. 

"The German Government, conscious of Germany's strength, 
twice within the last few months announced before the world its 
readiness to make peace on a basis safeguarding Germany's 
vital interests, thus indicating that it is not Germany's fault if 
peace is still withheld from the nations of Europe. The German 
Government feels all the more justified in declaring that re- 
sponsibility could not be borne before the forum of mankind and 
in history if after twenty-one months of the war's duration the 
submarine question, under discussion between the German Gov- 
ernment and the Government of the United States, were to take a 
turn seriously threatening maintenance of peace between the 
two nations. 

"As far as lies with the German Government, it wishes to 
prevent things from taking such a course. The German Govern- 
ment, moreover, is prepared to do its utmost to confine operations 
of the war for the rest of its duration to the fighting forces of 
the belligerents, thereby also insuring the freedom of the seas, 
a principle upon which the German Government believes, now as 
before, that it is in agreement with the Government of the United 
States. 

"The German Government, guided by this idea, notifies the 
Government of the United States that German naval forces have 
received the following orders: 

" 'In accordance with the general principles of visit and search 
and the destruction of merchant vessels, recognized by interna- 
tional law, such vessels, both within and without the area de- 



THE AMERICAN ULTIMATUM 455 

dared a naval war zone, shall not be sunk without warning and 
without saving human lives unless the ship attempts to escape or 
offer resistance/ 

"But neutrals cannot expect that Germany, forced to fight for 
existence, shall, for the sake of neutral interests, restrict the use 
of an effective weapon if the enemy is permitted to continue 
to apply at will methods of warfare violating rules of interna- 
tional law. Such a demand would be incompatible with the 
character of neutrality, and the German Government is con- 
vinced that the Government of the United States does not think 
of making such a demand, knowing that the Government of the 
United States repeatedly declares that it is determined to restore 
the principle of freedom of the seas, from whatever quarter it 
has been violated. 

"Accordingly, the German Government is confident, that in 
consequence of the new orders issued to the naval forces, the 
Government of the United States will also now consider all 
impediments removed which may have been in the way of a 
mutual cooperation toward restoration of the freedom of the 
seas during the war, as suggested in the note of July 23, 1915, 
and it does not doubt that the Government of the United States 
will now demand and insist that the British Government shall 
forthwith observe the rules of international law universally 
recognized before the war, as are laid down in the notes pre- 
sented by the Government of the United States to the British 
Government, December 28, 1914, and Nov. 5, 1915. 

"Should steps taken by the Government of the United States 
not attain the object it desires, to have the laws of humanity 
followed by all belligerent nations, the German Government 
would then be facing a new situation, in which it must reserve 
to itself complete liberty of decision." 

The first feeling aroused by the German note, with its wounded 
tone and qualified compliance with the American demand, was 
one of irritation. But after closer study the President was will- 
ing to accept the German undertaking on probation, without 
taking a too liberal view of the phraseology employed, and to 
regard the intrusive strictures on the United States as intended 



456 THE STORY OP THE GREAT WAR 

for German, not for American reading. The disposition was to 
be charitable and to take cognizance of the matter rather than 
the manner of Germany's backdown, and to wait and see if her 
government would live up in good faith to its new instructions 
to submarine commanders, without recognizing the impossible 
conditions imposed. 

But in the country at large public opinion was less ready to 
interpret the German note except as it read textually. It was 
denounced in scathing language as shuffling, arrogant and of- 
fensive, or as insulting and dishonest. One paper deemed its 
terms to be a series of studied insults added to a long inventory of 
injuries. Said another, Germany's mood is still that of a mad- 
man. A third comment on the note described it as "a disin- 
genuous effort to have international petty larceny put on the 
same plane as international murder and visited with the same 
punishment." A fourth paper remarked : "If an American can 
read the note without his temples getting hot then his blood is 
poor or his understanding dense." The weight of American 
press opinion was against Germany, especially in the South, and 
either called for the breaking of diplomatic relations or con- 
sidered such a course inevitable. 

For the United States even to contemplate, as Germany pro- 
posed, "an alliance between Germany and the United States to 
break a British blockade that Germany cannot break" was 
viewed as unthinkable. Intellectual dishonesty, characteristic 
of Germany in its attitude toward the world since the war 
began, and especially shown in negotiations with the United 
States, was seen in the effort to place upon Great Britain the 
responsibility for wrongs committed by Germany against the 
United States and in the renewed attempt to convict the Ameri- 
can Government of lapses because it has not controlled Great 
Britain's sea policy. In fact, the attempt to dictate the Ameri- 
can attitude to Great Britain in return for a promise to restrict 
submarine warfare was generally resented as an impertinence. 

When all was said, however, the German reply, although hav- 
ing the appearance of being as little conciliatory as words could 
make it, did in fact yield to President Wilson on the main issue. 



THE AMERICAN ULTIMATUM 457 

The President, in considering this view, was guided by 
Ambassador Gerard's dispatches reporting his interview with 
the kaiser on the submarine crisis. The kaiser, he said, 
was animated by a keen desire that relations between the 
two Governments should continue amicable, but he felt that 
German public opinion must be considered in making concessions 
to the United States. From the kaiser's concern for popular ap- 
proval the ambassador gathered that the German Government 
faced the necessity of so wording its answer to the United States 
that the German people would not feel that the Government had 
been forced to modify the rules under which submarines operated. 
The Administration received the impression that Germany would 
go to great length to avoid a rupture with the United States, 
and the German note must therefore be construed in the light of 
this feeling. The kaiser's views, as transmitted by the am- 
bassador, tended to soften the irritating tone and language of 
the German note, and was not without effect on the President 
and cabinet when they determined to accept it provisionally. 

The President decided to ignore the pointed suggestion of 
Germany that the United States should now seek to prevail on 
Great Britain to abandon her blockade of Germany. One source 
of irritation caused by the note was the statement that should 
the United States fail to raise the British embargo "the German 
Government would then be facing a new situation in which it 
must reserve to itself complete liberty of action." The Adminis- 
tration had no intention of accepting any conditional compliance 
with its deman'd for the abandoning of illegal submarine war^ 
fare; but the opinion officially prevailed that this effort) of 
Germany to lecture the United States as to its duty toward 
another nation might be overlooked in view of the accomplish- 
ment of the main object for which the Administration had been 
contending. 

Nor would the Government heed Germany's proposal that it 
undertake the role of peacemaker in the absence of any indica- 
tion that the Allied Powers were willing to respond to Germany's 
willingness to make peace — presumably on Germany's own 
terms. 



458 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

The promises in the German note were accepted per se, and 
the qualifications and animadversions Germany attached to them 
ignored. This determined upon, the intimation was made plain 
to Germany that should another ship be sunk in contravention 
of her new pledge no exchange of notes would ensue, but a 
severance of diplomatic relations would automatically be ef- 
fected by the forbidden act. German submarine commanders 
held in their hands the key to the situation. Any infraction of 
Germany's latest word would not call for a disavowal or pun- 
ishment of the commander; the United States would merely act 
on the presumption that Germany could not or would not control 
her own naval forces. Berlin would not be consulted again. 

The American response to the German note was sent three 
days later. It was brief, and swept aside the considerable de- 
bating ground Germany had invitingly spread to inveigle the 
United States into discussing mediation in the war. Its princi- 
pal passage ran : 

"Accepting the Imperial Government's declaration of its aban- 
donment of the policy which has so seriously menaced the good 
relations between the two countries, the Government of the 
United States will rely upon a scrupulous execution henceforth 
of the now altered policy of the Imperial Government, such as 
will remove the principal danger to an interruption of the good 
relations existing between the United States and Germany. 

"The Government of the United States feels it necessary to 
state that it takes it for granted that the Imperial German Gov- 
ernment does not intend to imply that the maintenance of its 
newly announced policy is in any way contingent upon the course 
or result of diplomatic negotiations between the Government of 
the United States and any other belligerent government, not- 
withstanding the fact that certain passages in the Imperial Gov- 
ernment's note of the 4th instant might appear to be susceptible 
of that construction. 

"In order, however, to avoid any possible misunderstanding, 
the Government of the United States notifies the Imperial Govern- 
ment that it cannot for a moment entertain, much less discuss, 
a suggestion that respect by German naval authorities for the 



THE AMERICAN ULTIMATUM 459 

rights of citizens of the United States upon the high seas should 
in any way or in the slightest degree be made contingent upon 
the conduct of any other government affecting the rights of 
neutrals and noncombatants. Responsibility in such matters is 
single, not joint; absolute, not relative." 

Secretary Lansing, in a comment on this reply, said the Ger- 
man note was devoted to matters which the American Govern- 
ment could not discuss with the German Government. He took 
the ground, as the American reply indicated, that the only "ques- 
tions of right'' which could be discussed with the German Gov- 
ernment were those arising out of German or American action 
exclusively, not out of those questions which were the subject 
of diplomatic exchanges between the United States and any other 
country. 

"So long as she (Germany) Hves up to this altered policy," he 
explained, "we can have no reason to quarrel with her on that 
score, though the losses resulting from the violation of American 
Tights by Grerman submarine commanders operating under the 
former policy will have to be settled. 

"While our differences with Great Britain cannot form a sub- 
ject of discussion with Germany, it should be stated that in our 
dealings with the British Government we are acting, as we are 
unquestionably bound to act, in view of the explicit treaty en- 
gagements with that Government. We have treaty obligations 
as to the manner in which matters in dispute between the two 
Governments are to be handled. We offered to assume mutually 
similar obligations with Germany, but the offer was declined." 

Mr. Lansing's comment appeared to be more enlightening to 
German opinion than the official communication. But while the 
German was frankly puzzled by the American contention — 
holding that there was an intimate connection between England's 
"illegal blockade policy" and the submarine war — and wondered 
naively whether or not he was the simple victim of an American 
confidence game, or strongly suspected that he had been hood- 
winked by President Wilson into parting with the effective sub- 
marine weapon, with no guarantee of getting any action against 
England in return, hard German common sense discerned 



'460 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

through these doubts, and made the most of the one all-important 
fact it could comprehend — ^that the dreaded break had been 
avoided. 

With the air thus cleared, the usual anticlimax came to the 
situation — ^the tumbling down of Germany*s elaborate and gran- 
diose defense of her misdeeds — by a tardy confession of error, 
which swept everything she had previously said into the discard. 
On May 8, 1916, the same day on which the American note had 
been dispatched, Germany sent a further communication ac- 
knowledging that, as result of further investigation, her previous 
contention "that the damage of the Stissex was to be traced back 
to a cause other than the attack of a German submarine can- 
not be maintained." It now seems that the Sussex had been 
mistaken by the submarine commander for a British transport. 
Nothing could be more complete than Germany's belated resort 
to an amende honorable after the United States had proved her 
guilt: 

"In view of the general impression of all the facts at hand 
the German Government considers it beyond doubt that the com- 
mander of the submarine acted in the bona fide belief that he was 
facing an enemy warship. On the other hand, it cannot be de- 
nied that, misled by the appearance of the vessel under the pres- 
sure of the circumstances, he formed his judgment too hurriedly 
in establishing her character and did not, therefore, act fully in 
accordance with the strict instructions which called upon him to 
exercise particular care. 

"In view of these circumstances the German Government 
frankly admits that the assurance given to the American Gov- 
ernment, in accordance with which passenger vessels were not to 
be attacked without warning, has not been adhered to in the 
present case. . . . The German Government does not hesitate to 
draw from this resultant consequences. It therefore expresses 
to the American Government its sincere regret regarding the 
deplorable incident, and declares its readiness to pay an adequate 
indemnity to the injured American citizens. It also disapproved 
of the conduct of the commander, who has been appropriately 
punished." 



TWO YEARS OF THE WAR 

BY FRANK H. SIMONDS 



npHE purpose of this article is to review rapidly and briefly the 
-■- history of the military operations in the European conflict 
during the first two years, from the attack upon Liege to the 
opening of the first general Allied offensive. Necessarily, in 
view of the space limitations it will be confined to a summary of 
events in the three more considerable campaigns, that of Ger- 
many against France in 1914, that of Germany against Russia 
in 1915, and the second German attack upon France at Verdun 
in 1916. All other land operations have been subsidiary or 
minor and will claim only passing comment. 

THE GERMAN PROBLEM 

In the years that lay between the end of the Franco-Prussian 
War and the outbreak of the present conflict the Great General 
Staff of the German Army had carefully elaborated plans for that 
war on two fronts which the Franco-Russian alliance forecast. 
In company with the staffs of her two allies, Austria and Italy, 
Germany had formulated the methods by which she purposed to 
repeat the great success of 1870. 

With Italy in the war, with Great Britain out of it, it was plain 
that with German efficiency and the numbers that she and her 
allies would possess, Germany could count on a permanent ad- 
vantage in numbers as well as material. But the events of the 
early years of the century, the incidents beginning at Tangier in 
1905, and extending to the Balkan Wars in 1913, clearly estab- 
lished the possibility that Italy might enter the war as an enemy, 
and the probability that Britain would decline to stay out while 
France was being destroyed. 

461 



462 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

If either of these things should happen, as both did, then 
German soldiers recognized that Germany and her Austrian ally 
would ultimately be outnumbered, although superior preparation 
would give them the advantage in the first and perhaps in the 
second years of the conflict. It was therefore the problem of 
German high command to prepare its plans in such fashion as to 
win the war, while it still possessed the advantage of numbers 
and before the enemy could equip and train its own forces. 

In fact the problem was this: Should the Germans hurl the 
mass of their great army first at Russia or first at France, leav- 
ing only a small containing force on the other front? The ques- 
tion was much debated and remains a matter of dispute, now, 
when the attack ultimately decided upon has failed. (Vol. I, 85.) 

The decision to attack France, which seems to have been 
reached well in advance of the actual coming of the war, involved 
new considerations. Russia's mobilization was notoriously known 
to be a slow thing, although it turned out far more rapid than 
Germany had calculated. But at the least German high com- 
mand figured upon two months, during which it could safely 
turn all of its energies and resources against France. (Vol. 1, 85.) 

Unhappily in the years since the Franco-Prussian War France 
had built up a great barrier of fortresses from Luxembourg to 
Switzerland. Granted the great superiority of German heavy 
artillery, it was clear that this barrier could be forced, but de- 
fended by the mass of the French army this forcing would con- 
sume more than two months. 

If France were to be attacked first, then it must be attacked 
by some other road than that leading from the valleys of the 
Rhine and the Moselle, the route of the 1870 invasion. And the 
route manifestly lay through Belgium. The fortresses of the 
Mouse were patently of little modern value, the Belgian army 
was weak in numbers and only at the beginning of a process of 
reorganization. By coming through Belgium the Germans could 
hope, even if the Belgians resisted, to get to Paris in six weeks, 
having delivered their decisive battle on the road. (Vol. I, 85.) 

The element of additional opposition supplied by the Belgian 
army and the small British Expeditionary Army, if it came to 



TWO YEARS OF THE WAR 463 

the Continent, did not offset in the German mind the strength 
of the French barrier fortresses from Verdun to Belfort, and 
Belgium seemed the line of least resistance even if that resist- 
ance were to be reckoned at the maximum. If France were 
crushed within six weeks, it was safe to reckon that there would 
be time to turn east and deal with Russia, still unprepared and 
so far held up — if not defeated — by Austria. If Italy merely re- 
mained neutral up to the moment of the decisive battle in 
France, the outcome of this conflict would decide Italian policy. 
Here, briefly, is the basis of German strategy and the reason for 
German decision. (Vol. I, 86.) 

THE BELGIAN PHASE 

Germany declared war upon Russia on August 1, 1914. (Vol. 
I, 279.) She was already mobilizing, and in a more or less 
complete form all Europe had been mobilizing for at least a 
week. While there were delays in the exchange of other declara- 
tions, this date may be accepted as the real beginning of the 
world war. Moreover, when the declaration of war was sent to 
Russia, Germany was already aware that France purposed to 
stand by her ally. (Vol. I, 280.) 

The first step in German action, then, was to seize the road 
through Belgium. It might be had by diplomacy, but this hope 
was speedily extinguished when King Albert revealed his de- 
termination to defend his country. (Vol. I, 280.) Liege, the 
most important outer barrier, might still be won by a quick 
blow, and thus the opening move of the struggle was the dash 
of a few thousand German troops, not yet put on a complete 
war basis, westward from Aix-la-Chapelle and along the 
main Berlin-Cologne-Brussels railroad to the environs of Liege. 
(Vol. II, 9.) 

As a coup-de-main this attack upon Liege failed. The forts 
resisted. For several days Belgian field forces held the open 
spaces between the eastern forts, and the first German troops suf- 
fered bloody repulses and were presently compelled to pause until 
heavy artillery could be brought up. Meantime German troops 

DD— War St. 5 



464 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

moved north of the city and forced the crossing of the Meuse at 
Vise. Thereupon the Belgian field forces, which had been de- 
fending Liege, retired, to escape envelopment. The German army 
penetrated in the wide unfortified gaps between the Liege forts 
and occupied the city of Liege on August 7, 1914. The forts 
held out for another week, one by one succumbing to the new 
heavy German and Austrian howitzers, which were making their 
first noise in Europe. (Vol. II, 12-23.) 

Meantime, behind Liege the German concentration was going 
forward, the main mass of the German army was getting ready 
for its great drive on Paris, while west of Liege German cavalry 
was slowly but methodically driving in the slender Belgian field 
forces, which took their stand behind the north and south flowing 
rivulets of the central Belgian plain. Here were fought some of 
the minor engagements which filled the press of the world in the 
early days, but had no actual value. (Vol. II, 9-11.) 

Early in the third week of August, 1914, the German prepara- 
tions were complete and one great German army under Kluck, 
crossing the Meuse about Liege moved directly west upon 
Brussels, while a second, under Biilow, crossed the Meuse about 
Huy, between Liege and Namur, and advanced upon the latter 
place. Still a third army, under Hausen, moved across the 
Ardennes toward the Meuse crossings southeast of Namur, while 
a fourth under the Crown Prince of Wiirttemberg aimed farther 
south through the Ardennes at the Meuse crossings in France. 
(Vol. II, 25, 26.) 

Before this torrent the Belgian army was swept with little or 
no delay. (Vol. II, 27.) By August 19, 1914, it was fleeing 
back to the intrenched camp of Antwerp. (Vol II, 27.) Brus- 
sels fell on August 20, 1914 (Vol. II, 30), and on August 22, 
1914, the Belgian phase was over and the German troops had 
come to grips with French and British troops along the whole 
Belgian frontier from Luxemburg to Mons. (Vol. II, 37.) So 
far German plans had worked about as they had been expected 
to work, and at the end of the third week Germany was on the 
eve of the decisive battle, which she had planned. 



TWO YEARS OF THE WAR 



465 




466 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

THE FRENCH OFFENSIVE 

Meantime the French had mobilized with expected speed and 
before mobilization was completed had pushed a raid into south- 
ern Alsace, wholly comparable to the German raid on Liege. 
(Vol. II, 38.) This advance had taken, lost and retaken Miil- 
hausen by August 15, 1914. (Vol. II, 41-45.) At this time the 
French were approaching the Rhine, in this sector, and had 
crossed the Vosges and come down the Rhine affluents for some 
distance. 

But this was a minor operation. The main thrust of the 
French General Staff, the answer to the German drive through 
Belgium, had long been prepared. It was to be a swift and 
heavy advance through Lorraine, between Metz and Strassburg, 
rolling up the German forces here, cutting communications be- 
tween these fortresses, and moving down the Rhine Valley and 
menacing the rear of the German armies which had invaded 
Belgium. (Vol. II, 43.) 

While the German armies were beginning their main advance 
upon Brussels and Namur, the French thrust was pushed out, 
was very successful for several days until the French had 
reached the main Metz-Strassburg railroad, and from Delme to 
Saarburg stood far within the German boundary. But at this 
point came the first real disaster. (Vol. II, 44.) 

Resting on the hills of Delme and the marshes of the Seille, the 
Germans had constructed strong fortified lines and furnished 
them with heavy artillery. When the French reached these posi- 
tions they were assailed by artillery which was beyond the reach 
of their own guns, they suffered heavy losses, were thrown into 
confusion, and presently were flowing back upon Nancy and 
Luneville in something approximating a rout, having lost flags, 
cannon, and many thousand prisoners. This was the Battle of 
Morhange, or of Metz — as the Germans name it — and it was 
over by August 22, 1914. (Vol. II, 44, 45.) 

At the same time another French army had pushed across the 
Mouse into Belgium from the district between Sedan and Mont- 
m^dy, it had won minor initial successes, and about Neuf- 



TWO YEARS OF THE WAR 



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468 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

chateau it had suffered exactly the same sort of reverse that the 
French army to the south had met at Morhange, German heavy 
artillery had procured another French defeat, which again 
approximated a rout and this French army was also in rapid 
retreat, having lost flags and guns as well as many thousand 
prisoners. 

Finally, still farther to the northeast, a French army had 
taken its stand in the angle between the Meuse and the Sambre, 
from Dinant, through Namur to Charleroi, and the British army 
prolonged the line to the east of Mons. Against this dike there 
now burst the full fury of the German advance made by the 
armies of Kluck and Billow. (Vol. II, 46-49.) Again the 
French were defeated after a desperate battle about Charleroi 
(Vol. II, 54), this time without any rout and after having in- 
flicted very heavy losses. But retreat was inevitable because the 
Germans succeeded in forcing the crossings of the Meuse at 
Dinant — that is, in the rear of the main army — ^while the fall 
of Namur (Vol. II, 55-59), another triumph for German heavy 
artillery and a complete surprise to the Allies, completed the 
ruin of their plans. 

Meantime the British army about Mons, after a day of hard 
fighting which had compelled them to contract their lines some- 
what, but left them unshaken, was thrown in the air by the 
French retreat from Charleroi (Vol. II, 60), tardily an- 
nounced to it, and was compelled to begin its long and terrible 
retreat, which so nearly ended in destruction. (Vol. II, 66.) 

By the middle of the third week in August, 1914, the Germans 
had then made good their way through Belgium, defeated the 
French counterthrust in Lorraine, routed two French armies 
and heavily defeated a third, together with its British supports. 
(Vol. II, 9-68.) 

It was not yet clear whether the French armies could rally 
for another general battle, but it was clear that if this should 
happen, the Germans had still time, accepting their original 
time-table. 



TWO YEARS OF THE WAR 469 

THE BATTLE OP THE MARNE 

In the fourth week of August, 1914, Joffre, the French com- 
mander in chief, was compelled to make a momentous decision. 
All his first plans had failed, all his armies had been defeated. 
It very promptly turned out that none of the defeats had 
materially affected the fighting value of his armies. Thus the 
army defeated at Morhange was promptly reenforced by the 
troops drawn out of Mulhausen and in turn defeated and re- 
pulsed its conquerors before Nancy, in one of the bloodiest bat- 
tles of the war. The army defeated at Neuf chateau made good 
its position behind the Meuse from Verdun to Charleville and in- 
flicted grave losses upon the Germans endeavoring to pass the 
river. Even the army defeated at Charleroi was able, a few days 
later at Guise, to pass to the offensive and throw back the Prus- 
sian Guard into the Oise. (Vol. II, 90-92.) 

Meantime two new armies, one under Foch, the other under 
Manoury, were in the making and there was reason to believe 
that it would be possible to renew the battle on the line of the 
Aisne, the Oise, and the Somme. But there was one grave peril. 
German plans had not only taken the French by surprise in mak- 
ing the main thrust through Belgium, but had prepared to send 
this way a far greater number of men than France had expected 
and had sent them much farther to the west. The result was 
that the weight of the blow had fallen upon the British. The 
British army had been compelled to make a night and day re- 
treat and had narrowly escaped destruction at Cambrai on 
August 26, 1914, "the most critical day." (Vol. II, 77.) The 
British army was too heavily outnumbered to meet the German 
attack, its retreat had been so rapid that the line of the Somme 
was about to be lost before the British could be supported by 
Manoury's army, which came up on its western flank too late. 
There was, therefore, the real danger that Kluck might get 
between Paris and the main mass of the Allied armies, envelop- 
ing them and producing a Sedan ten times greater than that 
which had wrecked the Third Empire. 

Joffre, accordingly, decided to continue the retreat and brought 



470 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

all his forces that were west of the Meuse, in good order and no 
longer heavily pressed back behind the Marne and on a line 
from Paris, through Meaux, Sezanne, La Fere Champenoiser 
Vitry-le-Francois, Bar-le-Duc, and thence north to Verdun. He 
thus stood with his forces in a semicircle, the concave side to^ 
ward the Germans and his flanks resting upon Paris and Verdun, 
whose forts covered these flanks. (Vol. II, 83.) 

By September 1, 1914, it was plain to the Germans that the 
French army had escaped its embrace and that no envelopment 
was longer possible. It remained possible to destroy them by 
main force, since German numbers were still superior, German 
artillery unchallenged, and the early successes productive of un- 
bounded confidence. The German armies thus leaped forward 
for the final decisive battle, which had been just missed at the 
French frontier. (Vol. II, 84, 85.) 

But the new situation imposed new strategy. It was no 
longer possible to envelop the Allies, and accordingly, Kluck, on 
the western flank, turned southeast and marched across the face 
of Paris, crossing the Marne near Meaux and leaving only one 
corps to guard his flank toward Paris. This was a sound ma- 
neuver, if the French troops in Paris were too few or too 
broken to strike ; it was perilous in the extreme, if the opposite 
were the case. And it Was the case, for Joffre had concentrated 
behind Paris a new army, Manoury's, which was now to attack. 

On September 5, 1914, the Germans having now fallen into 
Joffre's trap, the French commander in chief issued his famous 
order, and the whole Anglo-French army suddenly passed from 
the defensive to the offensive. (Vol. II, 102.) The first shots 
of the conflict, the great Battle of the Marne, were fired by some 
German field pieces, at Monthyon, just north of the Marne and 
less than twenty miles from Paris. They greeted the advance 
of Manoury's army coming east out of Paris and striking at 
Kluck's open flank. (Vol. II, 103.) 

The next day Manoury rolled up Kluck's flank, drove his 
troops in on the Ourcq River, and threatened his army with 
destruction. Kluck saved himself by extraordinary clever work, 
he drew his troops back from the front of the British south of 



TWO YEARS OF THE WAR 



471 




472 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

the Mame, put them in against Manoury and by September 10, 
1914, had driven Manoury back toward Paris and was threaten- 
ing him. The first blow had failed, but it had brought a chain 
of consequences fatal to German plans. (Vol. II, 99-110.) 

First of all the British, once Kluck had drawn his main masses 
from their front, began somewhat tardily to advance, threatening 
Kluck's other flank, and Franchet d'Esperey's army, to the east, 
about Montmirail, in turn, attacked Billow's, whose position had 
been made dangerous by the retreat of Kluck. Billow had to go 
back north of the Mame, suffering severe losses and his retire- 
men uncovered the flank of Hausen's army fighting to the east 
from La Fere Champenoise to Vitry. (Vol. II, 107.) 

Meantime things had been going badly on this line for the 
French, and their troops under Foch had been driven back many 
miles. The Germans, feeling the danger from the west, were 
making one final effort to break the French center and win the 
decisive contest. But Billow's retreat opened the way for a su- 
preme piece of strategy on the part of Foch, who descended from 
the heights, struck Hausen, almost routed him and sent him in 
quick retreat beyond the Marne. (Vol. II, 120, 121.) 

This settled the battle. Kluck, Billow, and Hausen were now 
forced to retreat, their retreat communicated itself all along the 
line and by September 13, 1914, the Germans were all withdraw- 
ing, Kluck was over seventy miles north of the Grand Morin, 
just taking root behind the Aisne, the Battle of the Mame was 
over, and the great German plan to deal with France in six 
weeks had been completely wrecked. Actually the first phase 
of the war was over, unless the Germans could regain the 
offensive and restore the conditions existing before the Marne. 
(Vol. II, 120-123.) 



THE END OP THE FIRST WESTERN 
CAMPAIGN 

In this the Germans failed. They did succeed in rallying and 
beating down the Anglo-French pursuit with great skill and 
promptitude. The Battle of the Aisne (Vol. II, 130-146) marked 



TWO YEARS OF THE WAR 



473 




474 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

the beginning of the deadlock and the Germans took the posi- 
tions they were to hold for the next two years between the Oise 
and the Meuse. 

But the effort to renew the attack failed. It began with an 
effort, made by troops brought from before Nancy, where a new 
French defensive success had saved the Lorraine capital, to come 
south to Paris along the west bank of the Oise. It was continued 
in the so-called "race to the sea," when French and German com- 
manders tried to outflank their opponents along the Oise, the 
Somme, and the Lys. But this resulted only in extending the 
lines of parallel trenches which now stretched to the Belgian 
frontier from Noyon. 

Finally, having beaten down the Belgian resistance and taken 
Antwerp in the second week of October (Vol. II, 168-172), the 
Germans made a last attempt to interpose between the Allies 
and the sea, take Calais and Boulogne and come south through 
Artois and Picardy. 

They were halted in the desperate battles along the Yser an<J 
the Lys. (Vol. II, 169-175.) The Belgian army, escaping from 
Antwerp, stood solidly behind the Yser, the British just man- 
aged to cling to Ypres (Vol. II, 171-172), and the French under 
Foch performed new miracles on the defensive. Two months 
after the German defeat at the Mame, the loss of the western 
campaign was made absolute by the unsuccessful termination 
of the Battle of Flanders and a war of movement had fallen to 
a war of trenches, a state of deadlock had succeeded to the 
operations in the open field and the German tide had been per- 
manently checked. (Vol. II, 174-177.) But actually the check 
had been at the Mame and in this battle the original German 
plan had been decisively defeated. France had not been dis- 
posed of in two months, but had won the decisive battle that 
German strategy had prepared. But she bad lacked the numbers 
and the artillery to turn the victory to best account and had 
failed wholly in the attempt to free her own territory as she was 
to continue to fail for two years. 



TWO YEARS OF THE WAR 



475 




476 THE STORY OF THE GREAT WAR 

THE RUSSIAN PHASE 

We have seen that it was the plan of the German General Staff 
to hold the Russian armies while the great attack upon France 
was being made. To do this the Germans had left a very small 
force in East Prussia, but had practically assigned to Austria 
the task of holding up Russia. (Vol. II, 371.) 

German calculations as to Russian mobilization proved sadlj 
inaccurate. While the German troops were still in Belgium and 
the Battle of Charleroi unfought, Russian troops crossed the 
East Prussian boundary and began an invasion which produced 
something approximating a panic. (Vol. II, 434.) One Rus- 
sian army came due west from the Niemen, another north from 
Warsaw, and all of Germany east of the Vistula seemed in grave 
peril. (Vol. II, 43X) 

TANNENBERG AND LEMBERG 

It was then that the kaiser summoned Hindenburg, gave him 
the task of defending East Prussia, and thus introduced one of 
the few famous and successful soldiers of the war. (Vol. II, 
438.) Hindenburg cleverly concentrated his forces, leaving 
only a screen in front of the Russian army coming from the 
Niemen toward Konigsberg, practically surrounded the other 
Russian army in the marshes about Tannenberg, brought into 
action great parks of German heavy artillery, and routed and 
destroyed the Russian army about September 1, 1914. (Vol. II, 
438-441.) 

On "Sedantag'' Germany was able to celebrate one of the 
most decisive of all her many victories, and the Russian peril in 
East Prussia had been quickly abolished. 

But the East Prussian incident was only a detail, due, it is 
still insisted, to the prompt yielding of Russian strategy to 
Allied appeals for some action in the east that might relieve the 
terrible pressure now being exerted upon the Anglo-French 
forces in the west. And if the East Prussian invasion did not, 
as was asserted at the time, compel the Germans to send troops 



TWO YEARS OF THE WAR 477 

from Belgium to East Prussia, it did hold up new formations 
and seriously complicate the German problem, contributing ma- 
terially to the French victory at the Marne thereby. 

The real Russian blow was delivered against Austria. Faith- 
ful to her agreement, Austria had promptly undertaken the in- 
vasion of southern Poland and in the third week of August an 
Austrian army was approaching Lublin, while another stood. in 
a wide circle about the Galician city of Lemberg. (Vol. II, 
376-379.) 

Ignoring the first army, the Russians sent their main masses 
westward on a front extending from the Rumanian boundary to 
the Kiev-Lemberg railroad. Before Lemberg the Austrian army 
was overwhelmed in a terrible rout, which ended in a wild flight, 
costing some 300,000 prisoners and almost destroying the Aus- 
trian military establishment. (Vol. II, 385, 386.) 

The Austrian army, which had advanced into Poland was left 
in the air, and its retreat was transformed into a new disaster. 
Lemberg fell about September 1, 1914, and meantime a Serbian 
victory at the Jedar had destroyed still another Austrian army 
and emphasized the weakness of Hapsburg military power. 
(Vol. II, 329-335.) 

At about the time the German blow at France was failing 
along the Marne, the Russian victories were mounting, Russian 
armies were sweeping through Galicia and approaching the San. 
(Vol. II, 398.) Serbian armies were across the Bosnia fron- 
tier, (Vol. II, 323), and the eastern situation was becoming 
perilous in the extreme for the Central Powers, despite the 
great victory of Tannenberg, which had cost the Russians an 
army of 100,000 men. (Vol. II, 438-450.) Thus in the first 
six weeks of the war the whole German conception had been 
defeated, France had not been destroyed by one great blow, 
and Russia had not been held up by Austria, pending the de- 
livery of this blow and the return of the German troops who had 
delivered it. 



478 



TH